Breath is not only life, it is also an important component of dance. Consciously linking breathing to our dance enhances each movement and makes them more powerful. Breath evenly also gives us another way to maintain a rhythm while we move.
The simplest way to test this theory is to begin with focusing on the breath, focusing our attention on each cycle of inhaling and exhaling. After following a few cycles, begin to move one way on the inhale, and a different way on the exhale. For example, rise on tiptoes with the arms reaching toward the sky while inhaling, and then bend the knees and let the body sag on the exhale.
As always, experimenting with a new technique will help you gain mastery. In general, inhaling makes us more buoyant, so this part of the breath brings more power to expansive poses, like stretches and jumps. Exhaling brings power to poses that involve contraction, or folding parts of the body together, such as bending, kicking.
To teach the technique to children, begin slowly and simply. Have them come into a standing position, and close their eyes so they can begin to focus on their breath. After a few breaths, have them open their eyes, and move the arms first, reaching them up to the sky, fingers spread wide while inhaling, then letting them float down to their hips on the exhale. From there, you can make it into an inhale/exhale breathing game. The teacher will be the first leader, showing one pose for inhale and a different pose for exhale. Switch leaders every few minutes until everyone has a turn.
Breathing brings oxygen to our muscles and power to our dance. Take a deep breath and begin.