Backstage With Melody Pourmoradi of GirlLife Evolutions

You know when you meet a fellow #GirlBoss online, or in person, and you're struck by a wave of 'this girl is SO cool!!' Well that was pretty much my impression of Melody Pourmoradi, who is a life and wellness coach who has some super important messages for girls and women surrounding self-esteem and confidence, body love and acceptance, and supporting each other in a world that's so often trying to tear us down.

I connected with Melody on social media few months back and fell in love with her work, and was so thrilled when she agreed to sit down for an interview with me! My current momentum in bringing body positivity into the dance classroom feels like it jives well with her It’s actually GiRLIFE Empowerment & Life Evolutions work (a program that's dedicated to empowering young girls with tools to nourish their minds, bodies and souls), so I was super excited to hear more from Melody about her amazing work! Read on for a major dose of Girl Power (and a special offer for YOU from Melody)!

KC: Tell me a bit about how you got started in life and wellness coaching.

MP: As a young girl I was always very fascinated by human potential and finding ways to support others to move forward in their lives. As I started studying psychology however, I realized that the nature of the field required a great deal of healing old wounds and working on the past in order to create positive change. My gift as I learned a little later on was to work with people on the strengths that they have today to help them grow into the best versions of themselves. When I learned about coaching, the job description so resonated with me that I immediately went to coaching school, received my certification and started taking on clients. It has truly been one of the most significant decisions of my life. 


KC: What was it that sparked your interest in coaching specifically for women, and young girls?

MP" As I reflect on all of the transitions that I myself experienced as a young girl and as I watched my twin daughters move through their own set of ups and downs, I was very inspired to create a girls empowerment program. There are so many layers of fear placed on young girls from the outside. Unconsciously, we all accept those fears and allow them to shape our reality. The goal of my program is to instill a strong foundation within our young girls from the youngest possible age, so that they can move through every phase of their lives with as much ease, grace and peace as possible. 

KC: What's your favorite thing about working with women and girls?

MP: My favorite thing about working with girls and women is to watch their grit and grace as they move towards their goals. I believe that female energy, talent and intelligence are one of our planet’s most valuable untapped resources. I love playing a role in bringing light to this positive female movement. The sooner we can all be introduced to our own personal power, the sooner we can step up and claim a life that truly serves us and those around us. 

KC: Do you have any lady heroes, and why?

MP: My biggest lady hero is the incredible Oprah Winfrey. The way that she has used her platform to create a positive shift on our planet is beyond inspiring. I attribute so much of what I have created to date to her and other female role models whose fierce and fabulous energy I call on in my own life each day. 

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KC: How do you describe what you do for a living to people you're just meeting for the first time?

MP: I am a life coach and the creator of The GiRLiFE Empowerment Series: A mind and body training designed for passionate women who want to bring girls empowerment to their own communities {while earning for the good work that they do}. 

KC: What's it been like doing the GirlLife work and curriculum with your own daughters?

MP: It has been so gratifying. I love watching them immerse themselves in the workshops. My favorite is when we are running workshops for younger girls and they help me with everything from set up to registration to actually speaking with the girls who attend our workshops in a one in one setting. It’s also very comforting to see them use the GiRLiFE principles of self-love, gratitude and intuition in their own daily lives.  

KC: Do you have any new or special projects on the horizon you're excited about?

MP: I do. I am actually putting the finishing touches on my first book called: xoxo, from a girl who gets it: life notes for the young girl within. I love sharing all of the messages from my workshops in a fun and inspiring way. The target ages for the book are 5-105. I believe that there is wisdom in this book that the young girl in all of us needs to hear to heal and to grow. I’m super excited to be publishing it soon!

And now.... just for funsies....

KC: Burritos or Tacos?

MP: Tacos all the way!

KC: Flashdance or Footloose?

MP: Flashdance

KC: Legwarmers or Headbands?

MP: Legwarmers always

KC: Disco balls or rainbows?

MP: Rainbows

KC: One word to describe yourself?

MP: Resilient

Thank you so much Melody for sharing your time and wisdom with us, and for creating this special offer for Different Drummer Dance readers!

Melody has generously offered up an entire module from her GiRLiFE Empowerment Training. This training will guide you through one of the themes from her workshop so you can give it a test run in your community, and it's also a great way of getting acquainted with the GiRLiFE mission and our movement. Make sure you claim your offer below, and then let me know once you did so I can give you a virtual high five! 

You can also get more of Melody and empowerment for women and girls over on her Facebook group page. Hop to it and get empowering! 

The Book Report: How to Catch a Leprechaun

It's time for your Elf On The Shelf to move over, because it's Leprechaun season! St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and it's the perfect opportunity to put on some green, do a little jig, and party it up, Irish style!

This month's Book Report is brought to you by the fun and mischief of leprechauns.  How To Catch A Leprechaun is the perfect rhyming, silly, and celebratory story to kick off the holiday, and I especially love this book for my creative movement classes since it's full of action words, directions, and prompts to explore all kinds of dance elements.

My students love the fun rhythm and rhyme of Adam Wallace's book, and the story lends itself perfectly to obstacle courses, quiet, creeping movements, surprise twists and jumps, snapping and tapping rhythms (like the Leprechaun does), and is just a whole lot of fun!

Will you be trying to catch any leprechauns this St. Patty's Day? I'd love to know your favorite books and traditions! Be sure and check out March's Brain Dance as well, for spring time dance moves to keep the fun going!

Disclosure: some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through my links and make a purchase.

March Brain Dance - Spring + Scarves!

Are you craving Spring as much as I am? Here in upstate NY it's still mostly cold, but there are days when the snow is melting and the sun is shining bright, and it's pumping me up for longer days and all that vitamin E!

With that in mind, I bring you March's Brain Dance! I decided to bring in a prop this month, since I haven't used one in a Brain Dance for awhile, and these new scarves I got are so light and airy and colorful, they seemed to match the upcoming spring spirit. So grab your scarf and let's go!

Disclosure: some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through my links and make a purchase.

What A Dance Community Can Teach Us About The Florida Shooting

Like you, my heart is broken by yet another U.S. school shooting. You may not think that a dance blog is the place to say that, or reflect on thoughts and observations about school murders, but I'd say you're wrong. 

Jamie Guttenberg was a 14 year old dance student in Florida who had her whole, wonderful life ahead of her until it was taken from her by a man with a gun. 

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There's no shortage of articles and books published about why school shootings have been on the rise, and I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but here's what I see: I see young men who are committing these crimes because they're hurting and feel they have no outlet to express the deep isolation they feel. You may think that's too rainbow-y and simplistic, but I don't think anyone can deny that America, and Americans are suffering badly from not coming together, not finding connection, and isolating ourselves from others, our communities, and our own inner wisdom that speaks to us and whispers 'something's wrong'.

Guns and schools have both been around for centuries, yet not until the past 20 years have we seen school shootings. Why? There have always been kids who didn't fit in, were labeled 'misfits', and considered outcasts; why in the 1920's, 30's 40's didn't they bring weapons to school?

Because community still existed. If a kid was having a hard time, parents sent him to an aunt, an uncle, a friend. They helped him find a job, or a passion or a trade that he could engage in. His community rallied around him and would. not. let. him. give. up.

Much like our dance school and dance communities do. Jamie's dance school, Dance Theater, isn't unlike dance schools all over the country that bring young people together to bond over a love of dance. Beyond the weekly classes, competitions, and performances, the communities we form in dance become webs that link us to each other, to our purpose, to a greater call to show up for dance class, and each other. To encourage, support, and love each other.

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Dancers all around the states will be wearing orange ribbons to honor Jamie (orange was her favorite color), and while that big-hearted and loving tribute gives me chills, it's not enough. This country HAS to do better and stop letting our young people die at the hands of young men who have too few outlets to reach out for support.

Dance in your communities. Play sports in your communities. Do anything in your community, but if you have one, give thanks, and ask yourself what you can do to bring community to those that don't have one. This may not be THE answer, but it is ONE answer.

Rest in sweet peace Jamie. I know you're dancing through the Universe, now, and forever.

The Book Report - Click, Clack, Moo, I Love You!

If Valentine's Day (or ValenTIMES, as my students call it) isn't the perfect time to grab the sweet people in your life and do a little happy dance, I don't know when is. This month's book report is sure to have you clicking and clacking your toes; it's Click, Clack, Moo, I Love You! by Doreen Cronin. If you're kiddo is a fan of her other books in the Click, Clack, Moo series, they definitely will love this tale as well.

Little Duck is in a festive sprit for Valentine's, and goes about planning the best party, ever. But when a not-so-usual visitor shows up as a guest, Little Duck and the farm animals aren't quite sure what to do. (Spoiler alert - all ends well, and with a dance party!) I love using this book for the rhythmic quality (it's great to explore fast and slow movements with that correspond to the click and clack), and any book with animals in it is sure to get kids moving in all the different ways animals can move. Pair this book and your dance lesson with this playlist for a sweet and fun Valentine's Day lesson. Happy Dancing!

REPLAY! Body Positivity & Empowerment in the Dance Classroom

Guys! I did my first Facebook Live! And it was on a subject that I feel is reeeeeally important, both to the dance community, and to the world at large. In case you missed it, here is the replay!

I talk about why body positivity is important, give you 3 affirmations to use with your students, additional phrases you can incorporate into your classes, and 3 group activities that build support and teamwork. If you're digging this little snippet, I'd love for you to check out the Full Course. In the Full Course, you get 9 affirmations, conversation starters to use with your students to get them to start thinking about body positivity, a group activity and additional empowering phrases to use with each of the 9 affirmations, a facilitator and student handbook, as well as a guide to getting parents onboard. 

I'd love to know what you think, and I'd love for you to share this with someone you think would enjoy it or find it interesting. I hope you'll join me in making the dance world a more empowered, body positive place! Happy Dancing!

February Brain Dance - Show Your Body Some Love!

I have a new guiding phrase in my work: dance education from the inside out (I love it, btw), and this phrase has prompted a lot of new and exciting things for me. On the whole, it's highlighted an area that I think the dance community (and whole world, really) needs an update on, and that's body positivity and empowerment. If you think that all bodies deserve to enjoy dance and movement, free of judgment and unreasonable cultural standards, I'd love for you to join my Facebook Live class on bringing body positivity and empowerment into the dance class; I'll be talking about why this is an important subject, and giving you 3 affirmations/positive statements you can use with your dancers, as well as team building activities to use with them to foster growth mindsets and group support.

My obsession with this topic was also a guide for this month's Brain Dance, which is also about body positivity. During a month that can be all about showing others love (Valentine's Day), I thought it would be refreshing to take a moment and show our own bodies some love for all the amazing things they do for us. In the hustle and bustle (dancers and athletes are especially guilty of this) of life, it's easy to forget that our body wants to be on our team; it wants to do what we want it to do - if only we'd listen to it and give it a little TLC.

With that in mind, enjoy this month's body positive Brain Dance! 

Please feel free to share it, or drop me a comment and let me know what you thought! And if you want to join me this Friday at 10 am EST for my Facebook Live, you can do that here. Happy Dancing! 

Backstage With Kimberly Weiss - A Body Positive, No BS Coach

I'm super excited to share this week's Backstage blog, because it features a new friend who's doing some pretty badass things when it comes to injecting our society and culture with a much needed dose of body positivity. Kimberly Weiss is a body positive, no BS coach for women, and we've bonded over the ridiculous body standards women face, as well as over a love of tacos and dance parties. Especially as my focus has started shifting to teaching dance from the inside out, our conversation felt like an important step towards embracing all the ways we enjoy movement. 

KC What's your background with movement? Were you into dance, sports, etc. as a kid?

KW: Not at all. I did a few dance and gymnastics classes when very young, but I didn't like them. I had friends that played softball or soccer but never really found something I liked. I ended up playing tennis later on and actually loving tennis, but when I was young I always hated sports and fitness and movement. It was always a HAVE to - not something I had a choice on. It was the "You have to" in gym class that measured how healthy you were by how fast you could run a mile - a concept I completely disagree with. It took the joy out of movement for me that I didn't find again until I was an adult.

KC: Your work focuses around empowering women to feel good and comfortable in their bodies. Is that a mission you've always been aware of? How did it come about?

KW: It came about because I changed careers and began working with girls from 8 - 18 with at various non profits from different backgrounds. I kept seeing /hearing the same things with the kids and their parents or just out to brunch with my own friends. I got tired of it so I knew I had to stop complaining about it and do something about it if I wanted to see a change. We have such a narrow view of what is acceptable (body size, beliefs, how many grams of sugar we can eat). We don't take time to actually be happy. And we rely on others to define health and what is right/wrong instead of listening to our own needs. We waste so much time on fixing ourselves - life becomes and ongoing fixing journey and I love me some deep conversations and soul searching, but I also love when women free up the mental time/energy/money to stop being an a** to themselves with food and life. We need to stop passing on these beauty/body expectations onto the next generation and it starts with all of us. 

KC: What's one message you wish you had heard as a young girl surrounding your body and abilities?

KW: If something doesn't feel comfortable - that is okay. I can find something else that does. I am not bad at sports or unfit because I can't do one thing. Everyone is good at different things and has their own abilities. 

KC: What's your most favorite way of moving and why?

KW: I love walking and running and I like to put on a quick video at home and just MOVE in whatever way feels good. I've been doing tae-bo a bit lately which is fun. Also boxing! It changes a lot - but I always do go back to walking as a simple can do thing. I love listening to an audio book and going for a long walk. I do love weights as well - I feel so powerful with weights in my hands!

KC: What's one memory that stands out to you about your jobs where you were working with young girls and the struggles they (or their parents/community) had about their abilities/appearance/diet, etc.?

KW: It's hard to think of just one. I think for me one big thing that stands out is when women are shocked that their daughters say something negative about their bodies when they are 8/9/10 when the mom's/teacher's/society are telling us we need to not eat sugar/gluten/carbs/fat and we go on cleanses and elimination diets that we say are not diets and then we are surprised when girls grow up and think there is something wrong with them. We teach them to think something is wrong with our own actions. It's in the little things and the passing comments. Things like "I was so bad last night. I can't believe how much I ate." drives me crazy. Shaming yourself out loud or talking bout the diet you are on that you don't need to be on and then your daughter is standing right behind you. It's not just about what you say when they are around. It's also about what you truly believe about yourself. Kids are SMART. They know. How you feel about yourself matters and they will take it in. 

KC: What's one project you're currently working on in your biz that you're excited about?

KW: MY PODCAST F Your Diet which recently launched. I'm having fun with that. I really like taking to women from different backgrounds and finding the common areas we all relate to. It's a podcast for people that are tired for BS and crave real stories. We talk about body, food, movement and perfection. I'm so glad I started it! I'm also putting together a free video series to introduce people into getting away from diet culture and how to actually listen to their own bodies. I think a lot of the work can be overwhelming or feel like another TO DO on a list so I want to change that by providing an easy introduction to the work. That will be on if anyone is interested! 

KC: Now, just for funsies...

Burritos or Tacos?

KW: Tacos. Always Tacos. WHO is saying burritos!? TACOS! They are the perfect food. I love tacos! 

KC: Disco balls or Rainbows?

KW: Rainbows, but I respect a disco ball. 

KC: Solo dance parties or group dance parties?

KW: Solo. About 10 times a day minimum. 

KC: Flashdance or Footloose?

KW: Footloose. Great soundtrack. (esp. for solo dance parties). 

KC: One word to describe yourself?

KW: Genuine. 

THANK YOU, Kim, for sharing your genuine, honest, badass self with me! I'd love for you to share Kim's interview with a woman in your life who you think would benefit from hearing Kim's wise words, and you can also get more Kim on her website, , Facebook, and YouTube

I'd also love to hear from YOU! If you're interested in being interviewed for the Backstage blog, hit me up with a message, or let me know if there's someone you'd especially love to see here!

Jump On It! Get The Most Out Of Your Content!

Ok, now that I've got Sir Mix-A-Lot stuck in your head, let's talk content creation. For all you dance studio owners and creative business owners out there, creating content for your social media platforms can feel like quite the daunting task. I know, I've been there. In fact, I'm still there much of the time. That's why I created this guide to getting the most out of your content and want to share it with you in hopes that it'll make your life easier!

The thing is, we don't really need to create allthecontent allthetime. Re-using, and recycling content is not only ok, it's kind of vital. #1 it keeps you sane and lets you focus on other things that need your attention, and #2, it reinforces to your audience what your message is as a business. It will build trust among your people, because they'll recognize and know what to expect from you. Win Win!

This worksheet I made for you shows a current example of my own work, and also has a blank template for you to fill in as is appropriate for you. You can use this for both old and new content, and it's handy to pass off to your employees or social media managers so they can help you out.

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You can download this guide here, totally free, no strings attached. If you like these kinds of tips and freebies, I'd love for you to do two things:

  1. Sign up to become a Different Drummer Dance Insider (where you'll have access to more things like this, as well as early access to promotions and downloads, and also be added to a private FB group where you can chat with other like-minded dance educators).
  2. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. This is where you can find (mostly) weekly teacher tip videos that range from classroom management to classroom games and exercises and lots more!

You can also leave me a comment and let me know if this was helpful, or if you have any other suggestions for content creation! Have a great week and happy dancing everyone!

Dance From The Inside Out

Levi's has an awesome new slogan and ad out, and without a doubt, it's meant to sell you jeans, but it's also super resonant for our times and general state of (most of) the world. If you haven't seen it yet, you can check it out below. When I first saw this ad I had two thoughts: #1 - oh that is SO GOOD. #2 - why didn't I think of that?!

A few days after I saw this, I was doing some journaling and brainstorming about that line, and still kicking myself I hadn't come up with it first. But then, a few days after that, an even better line came to me: dance education from the inside out.

Now that line totally resonates with me, on so many levels: personally, emotionally, spiritually, and as an educator... I'm totally over Levi's new tag line, because I love mine so much more. WIN!

But here's what I really want you to know about this new line of mine (which you'll find sprinkled through my site): it's saying what I know dance to be for me, what I know it can be for you and your kids, and ultimately, it's what I wish I had for myself a lot earlier in my life.

I've been blessed with amazing teachers and dance communities, but it wasn't until I was in my 20's that I realized that dance could be so much more than combinations and execution and performance (although I love those elements of it). Dance is a bearing of our souls, and if we teach dance from the inside out, those souls will be so beautiful, so expressive, and so powerful that the rest of the world will have no choice but to stop, watch, and listen. Dance like that can be a powerful motivator for change and connection; two things I think our world is always in need of, but especially needs now.

Now I'd love to hear your thoughts! Does your studio or dancing have a mission statement? If so what is it? If you're wishing you had a new mission statement, or looking to spruce up your dance biz game, I can help with that. Wishing you a beautiful start to your New Year!