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The Shy Princess

OK, I'm going to come clean. I have a guilty pleasure...and that's the new Disney cartoon Sofia the First.

If you haven't seen it, it's a series about a young girl whose mother marries the King and therefore becomes Royal overnight. The episodes are based around the dilemmas that young children experience and the plots all have strong moral messages behind them. the show also has a fantastic musical score which particularly appeals to me.

There's one episode that I really identified with and wanted to share with you. It's called The Shy Princess. Now, if you've read any of my previous blogs, you'll know that I don't like the word 'shy', but we'll go with it for the purpose of this story.

In the episode, the class are putting together a 'Show & Tell' presentation where each child introduces themselves to the rest of the class. Sofia is paired with a painfully shy Princess called Vivian. Vivian has no friends and the thought of speaking in front of her peers is something she finds completely terrifying. Sofia discovers that Vivian is an amazing musician and singer so she suggests that instead of talking the presentation, they sing it. And, because Vivian feels confident communicating through music, she musters up the courage to speak the rest of the presentation and is a shy princess no more.

The story resonated personally with me because I was extremely under-confident as a child. However, because I loved singing and drama, I managed use the techniques of performing to help me become confident in other areas of my life. Now, as an adult, I am completely confident that the singing, dancing and drama lessons I attended as a child made me who I am today. And, if I'd chosen another career that wasn't arts-based, it would have done the same thing.

Children don't need to be "talented", ambitious or even interested in performing to enjoy drama games and exercises. At Perform, we see drama as simply the natural expression of a child's personality allowing them to communicate and experiment in a safe environment, thereby learning how to react in situations and interact with others.

I believe that if a child is 'under-confident, drama lessons aren't just an option they are a necessity. That's why I call them confidence medicine. So many parents along the years have said to me that they believe they would have been happier and more confident if they had done drama as a child.

And the benefits don't stop with confidence and social skills. Drama also teaches you to walk taller, stand with better poise, look people directly in the eye and speak with articulation and projection.

You can see how passionate I am about the positive effects the performing arts can have on a child's development. If you know of any great stories of how drama has helped children you know, please share them.

In the meantime, enjoy this song courtsey of Sofia the First.

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