This is a great skill for kids to learn. But I think we could do even more. We want children to think about the future. So we are working in two directions. One is to get them to think about their future selves—the future they wish to have. I call it the futures model, because it describes a future which they hope could be. It does not describe how they will have children, but it does describe how they are thinking about the future.
The other is to give them a tool with which to build upon themselves. We teach them to think about what they do and what they want, but the real challenge is what they want to do. They do that. The problem is that we have not really taught them to think about what they wish people would do for them. People can be so busy that they do not do the things they want. They want to have a decent job, buy nice things, have fun, and they don’t do any of that. We are trying to change that through social dance.
How much do children understand about social dance?
Children learn about dance more rapidly than children hear about it. And I believe children get less of a chance to learn about dance when the dances are taught in grades and clubs—when their dances are not presented in their neighborhood. It is also not taught as many places in the country do. In high school for example, there were only 35 dances in which children sang and danced. Now there are 125 dance programs available in high school, and they give many dances. You can have dance that you don’t know anything about.
And for that reason, many children find that many dances present the idea that they can achieve something they never do. A lot of dancing is not about doing something special; it’s about doing something you want and that you want to become successful. You have to be in touch with yourself and your desires. You can also learn what your wants are. As I say about many of our programs, they are very rich. Many times I know what my children want. I know how I want to spend my money and so on. In our neighborhood we had a program called “Free Time for Kids,” which included some of the dance lessons. What was going on there was that we were teaching children that the way to be successful is to be a dancer and to dance in our clubs. We called it the Free Time program—for free time. It is not only dancing. There is learning
old folk dances, most popular social dances, types of dancing classes, types of dance theory, dance that tells a story