Does Dancing Boost Student Achievement?

A Southern California dance program is proving that the arts play a bigger role in learning than we realize.

America's pretty dance obsessed lately. Three popular shows—So You Think You Can Dance, America's Best Dance Crew, and Dancing With the Stars—all get stellar ratings, and Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her portrayal of a troubled ballerina. But is there a connection between learning the art of dancing and better performance in school? The example of Santa Ana, California-based nonprofit, The Wooden Floor suggests that there is. Since 1983, they've been integrating year-round dance training for fourth- through twelfth-graders with academic assistance and family service. Since the program's inception, 93 percent of participants have gone on to college, and for graduates from the past six years, that number has climbed up to 100 percent.

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