Just Dance! How West End Academy of Dance helps build better minds

Posted at 8:30 AM, Apr 11, 2018

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Author Vicki Baum once said, "There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them."

Dancing is one of 10-year old Clara Gould's three favorite things.

"I like math and spelling and dance," she said excitedly.

Clara practices her dancing at West End Academy of Dance in Henrico.

"It's a form of expression to the upmost," Artistic Director Hank Bamberger said. "It keeps them happy and healthy and safe. (It) keeps their minds expressive."

"You're not only working on movement," school director Julia Mitchell said, “you're working on memory.  You're working on remembering all of these steps."

Kids can start cultivating a sense of strength, capability, and confidence as early as 3½ years old.

It is something they’ll use as they grow older.

"They're really good at managing time," Mitchell said. “I find that helps them into their college years in being able to manage lots of school work, but also wanting to be able to participate in all the activities the schools have to offer."

"Dancing has taught me a lot," high school student Sara Katherine Stansell said. “It's taught me about etiquette and how to act. It's taught me a lot of time management and how to deal with a lot of hard classes at school and dancing here 15 hours a week."

No matter how long they stay, there's some things the instructors hope the kids will take with them when they go.

"I want them to walk away with a sense of pride, leadership and ownership of what they do”, says Bamberger.  “And how they can continue to better themselves."

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell airs Wednesday on CBS 6.