Everyone can dance – even those with two left feet.
This is what Gracia Chua and Denise Lwin, the founders of kids’ dance school Wings to Wings, clearly believe.
“Our classes are meant to help children pick up foundational techniques which will build up to intermediate levels overtime,’ Gracia, 23, told Little Day Out.
The two lady bosses have also designed their dance programmes so that the whole family can have a frisky little day out, involving mum and dad in dance workshops.
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Denise Lwin (left) and Gracia Chua, founders of Wings to Wings Dance Development Centre.
More than just being a whole lot of fun for kids, dance helps the little ones to develop physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Dance helps with muscle-building, strengthening, motor-coordination, and awareness of the body, according to Gracia, an ex-preschool teacher who frequently included music and movement in her classes.
It also allows children to express their feelings – and that it’s okay to feel angry or sad.
“We teach them the ways to express their anger or sadness, like clapping loudly or move with big actions, so that they do not use negative behaviour to express those feelings, for instance, hitting, biting, and throwing tantrums,” said Gracia.
Besides building confidence, dance is also a good form of stress relief, especially for students who face pressure from school or homework.
Bonding for the Family
Dad and mum are not left out in the fun. Launched in Februrary, Wings to Wings also conducts workshops that involve parents in partner dances with their children.
“These workshops are meant to create an environment where child and parent can spend time doing something meaningful together,” said Gracia.
One of the most memorable workshops they have held was the Daddy Daughter Dance Date in January.
“It was really sweet to see the dads dancing with their little girls. There are many mother and child events out there but events for father and daughter are few. It was a very brave step for us.”
More recently in March, the dance school’s Cinderella workshop had little girls turn up in beautiful gowns and headpieces, and eventually put up a little performance after the hour-long dance class.
Dance and Special Needs
Denise teaches ballet, jazz and swing, while Gracia coaches kids with autism, through dance.
Close to the hearts of the two women, Autism Movement Therapy is one of Wings to Wing’s core programmes. The idea took root when Denise first had difficulties during a one-to-one class with a child who had autism. Gracia, who was trained in child psychology, advised her partner on behavioural management techniques.
Not long after, Gracia achieved certification in Joanne Lara’s Autism Movement Therapy (AMT).
“This programme is also known as ‘awakening the brain’,” Gracia explained, “It engages the cortex which is a bridge between the left and right brain and gets the left brain and right brain working together.”
According to Gracia, children with autism have shown signs of being more focused on tasks and achieve higher functioning of tasks after AMT.
Both Denise and Gracia quit their jobs last September to start the dance school.
Denise, 26, worked in a bank and had taught dance part-time for five years. She had dreamt of starting a dance school since she was 10 years old.
Meanwhile, Gracia was going through early pregnancy and wanted flexible working hours for her young family. In fact, Gracia recently became a new mum in May.
“We try to do a lot of things ourselves, and it was a steep learning curve for us,” said Gracia, “Every decision that we make is a learning experience for us, and we constantly push ourselves to improve Wings to Wings every day.”
What to Expect at a Wings Session
The class first starts with an introduction so that the children familiarise themselves with the session.
Next, warm-ups help to get the muscles going to prevent injuries.
Then, the teacher will lead the kids to play a few musical games to get them hyped up and in sync with the music.
The children will also learn dance techniques through short choreographies and fun stories. And of course, a good amount of freestyle time for the kids to unleash their creativity. The session ends with a cool-down activity.
Workshops and Such
Call 6532 0406 to book a trial class. Click here to book some of Wings to Wings’ regular dance classes:
For more on Wings to Wings Dance Development Centre, click here.