Join The Dance Studio BodyPosi Challenge!

The hope and inspiration of a new year is still swirling around, and I’m not ashamed at all to be harnessing that motivation into my latest project, the Dance Studio BodyPosi Challenge!

If you follow me at all on Instagram (which you should, because I post really fun/helpful stuff), you probably will have seen me talking a lot about this challenge, and I’m super excited to be stepping out on this adventure with over 50 dance teachers and studios from around the US!

The goal of this challenge is to give teachers tools and resources to bring body positivity (aka bodyposi) into their dance classrooms. Everyday, from Monday - Friday of next week I’ll be leading teachers in moving mantras, affirmations, conversations, and writing prompts to help get their students on track to loving themselves, their bodies, and their abilities a bit more, because when we teach dance with the mindset that our bodies are our friends and teammates rather than something to be trained into submission, we raise happier and healthier dancers - mind, body, and spirit.

There’s only one more day to sign up! So if you’re into the idea of bringing a bit more love and respect into your studio, I hope you’ll join us!

Of if you have questions you can e-mail me, and by all means, if you have a friend (or 2 or 3) who you think would be into joining our challenge, hit share below and let’s spread the body positivity love!

The Dancer Teacher's 2019 Manifesto

Happy New Year!!

Like many of you, I’ve spent the last few weeks not only enjoy the holiday, but gearing up for a new year; clearing out the old and making room for the new. One of my practices for gearing up for a new year involves journaling and goal setting, and while I was doing these things, I had the idea to make a manifesto for myself - specifically for my teaching.

I started playing around with words - affirmations, positive statements, kick in the butt reminders, and then got to thinking, ‘well, if I need/want this, I wonder if other dance teachers do?’ So I asked around, and sure enough, you dance educators out there hollered back that you were into a manifesto too!

So here it is my fellow dance friends! Here’s a snippet of my 2019 Dance Teacher Manifesto. It reminds me of all the things I want for myself and my students and my teaching practice in the coming year, and I hope it gives you some inspiration and motivation as well!

To download the full manifesto, just pop your email below and I’ll send it your way. Print it out and put it next to your desk, teaching table, speaker or nightstand, and get ready to rock 2019 with me!

Backstage with Tricia Gomez of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance

I’m always fascinated and super inspired when I meet other dance educators and artists who are doing AMAZING things - their spirits and backgrounds and all they’ve achieved just give me all the warm and fuzzies, and I know after reading this week’s interview with Tricia Gomez of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance and Owner of Dance In A Box, you’ll be feeling the love as well. Let’s get to it! Read on!

KC: What's your earliest memory of dance?
TG:I remember being dressed up for my first class. I had ballet shoes on. I was 2 years old! My dance teacher, Miss Debbie Root Moore, lived next door to me and I was so excited! I also remember taking my recital pictures in an adorable white and pink satin ballet outfit. It had an umbrella that went along with it. I thought I was so special!

KC: What's your background with dance? Was it love at first plie?
TG: I don't remember ever NOT dancing. It's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. In fact, I recently did DNA testing and discovered that there are "dancer gene mutations" and I happen to have both of them!  So I guess you can say dance is literally in my DNA! I can remember my mom constantly asking me to stand still, or stop leaping over the different colored tiles in the grocery store. I think I saw the opportunity to dance in everything. Now I use it as therapy and train others to do so as well!

KC: How did you get into teaching? What's your favorite thing about it?
TG:I was the captain of my high school dance team, so I consider that my first dip into teaching. When I graduated from high school, our local teacher had decided to close up shop, so I jumped in and filled the void while I when to college. I was just so thrilled to be making money from dancing! The littles stole my heart. Their innocence, their honesty, and their awe really took dance, for me, to a different level. 

KC: Who are your dance heroes, and why?
TG: I was pretty sheltered growing up and my dance teachers never really taught us about the great dance pioneers. I pretty much relied on commercial media to get who's who of the dance world. I was in awe of Paula Abdul. I wanted to be just like her so badly as a kiddo. In fact, 2 years after graduating from high school, I closed my dance studio, dropped out of college (I was a Chemical Engineer major...haha), and fly out to Los Angeles to audition for the Laker Girls (because Paula was one). I actually made the team so I moved out to LA permanently and I've been dancing professionally ever since! I got to meet her one day when she came into our dressing room before one of the games. I wanted to cry! These days, I really admire dance teachers who really know how to TEACH, not just choreograph. I call them "Teaching Artists" because the process of teaching becomes the art. They observe each student individually and do whatever is necessary to get the student to understand what's needed of them. That takes true creativity and that's where the real relationships are found. That's what's most important!

KC: Tell us about the Rhythm Works program. What is it, and how did it begin?
TG: Rhythm Works Integrative Dance is a continuing education certification for teachers who would like to confidently and effectively work with students who have learning differences and other special needs. It applies dance and rhythm to evidence-based practices from the fields of occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and ABA therapy. Dance is magical and when we apply specific movement that correlates to foundations skills needed to achieve developmental goals, we see students reaching their goals faster! It takes dance to a whole new level. It's not just about expressing or understanding emotion, it literally rewires the brain! 

To make a long story short, after a near-death experience, I understood that there was something that I needed to do, my purpose wasn't complete. After I recovered, I set out on a journey to figure out what that purpose was. Through a not-so-coincidental chain of events, I found myself surrounded by a board of advisors that helped me dismantle my existing Hip Hop Made Easy program and rebuild it with purpose in mind. That's where Rhythm Works Integrative Dance was born. It ended up being so much more than I ever imagined. To see how it has changed and opened the eyes of the teachers who have come through the program really blows me away, but to hear the stories (and see some of them firsthand) of the students who have benefitted from the program means the world to me. The program was intended to open doors for students with special needs, but what is happening is that teachers are understanding how to better teach ALL of their students!

I now say "Performing is for my ego, teaching is for my heart, but Rhythm Works is for my soul." It really effects me at a much more intense level than anything I've ever done. Without a doubt, this is why I was left here on Earth. This is my purpose!

KC: Why do you think inclusion is important in the dance community?
TG: People who have special needs, especially those with moderate to severe challenges, have very little opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. It's not because there a lack of desire on the part of the leaders of those actives, but there is a fear. I hear it all the time..."I don't want to hurt anyone...I don't want to offend anyone...I'm worried about the liability." But with a little bit of knowledge and a great toolbox of strategies, that fear goes away and these leaders see their potential to make a difference. As I mentioned before, dance is magical and science is showing that the brain connects in different ways when we dance. This absolutely benefits students with cognitive, physical and social challenges. Dance is cool. Dance is fun. We can connect through dance. We can speak through dance. This should be available for everyone.

KC: Can you tell us more about your creation, Dance In A Box?
TG: Dance In a Box is actually the parent company that houses a variety of teaching tools. This started with Hip Hop In a Box. HHIB contains 100 flashcards with "dance steps" on them. The dance steps were derived from higher level movement, but stripped down to be simple enough for a 3 year old to perform. Teachers can pull out the steps they'd like to use and then link them together and fit them to the music. The complexity comes in the way the steps are patterned and paced (which is what is included in The Hip Hop Made Easy Teaching Guide). The beauty of the cards is that ANY style of hip hop can be applied to the steps. We leave that up to the teacher! In its most basic form, the cards are used to help teachers understand developmentally appropriate movement, break it down in terms a young child can understand, and provide a cohesive framework across their hip hop program. In addition to Hip Hop In a Box, we now have 1-2-3 Dance, which is an additional 50 dance steps, the Coloring Book, Visual Aids Kids. Look for more tools coming in the next year!!!

KC: What's one of your favorite funny or heart warming stories about teaching dance?
TG: One of the funniest moments of my teaching career came early on. I was 17 and teaching a hip hop class to 3-5 year olds (this was in 1993). One of the 3 year olds blurted out "Miss Tricia, your butt's jiggling!" My response was "Well, when you're my age, your butt's going to jiggle too!" 

One of the most heartwarming stories happened recently when one of our Rhythm Works students finally jumped for the first time (we had been working on it for a while in class). He was so excited and the mom was screaming with excitement! For the following weeks she sent us videos of him jumping everywhere! I never gave much thought to how important a skill like jumping is to the daily function of a child. It's everything.

We also had a situation where a mother of one of our home-bound Rhythm Works students sent a message to the teacher saying "Thank you for changing my son from simple existing to living." Dance did that...and his phenomenal RWID instructor!

KC: Are there any cliches or preconceptions about dance you try to correct in your teaching?
TG: These days, the biggest preconception we work to correct is the parent's idea of "possible." So often, they want to give up in the beginning. Transitions to new activities are usually difficult. Their idea of "participation" may be too high and to be honest, they have hear "this isn't the right place for your child" way too many times. It's very important that we let the parents know what to expect and that WE WILL NOT GIVE UP! We will figure it out. It may take a week. It may take a year, and that's OK. You can literally see the parent start to relax and breathe once they know we're in it to win it. :)

KC: What's next for you and your businesses? Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?
TG: haha...there's always something on the horizon! My mind doesn't stop! We'll be launching our continuing education membership, Inspire-Create-Educate (ICE), later this year! It will focus in on topics that teacher and therapists encounter that they'd like to dive deeper into. I like to say "you don't know what you don't know," but once you know it, you wonder how you ever made it this far without that knowledge! I'm also working on a few genre-specific add-ons for our RWID certified instructors. That is a HUGE project so I don't have a release date on that yet. I'm also consulting with a couple of other teaching artists who are looking to launch their own projects.

And now... just for funsies...

KC: Burritos or tacos?

TG: Tacos...only because I'm gluten free and burritos typically use flour tortillas! 

KC: Legwarmers or ballet skirts?

TG: Ballet Skirts...I'm getting hot flashes at this point in my life and just the thought of leg warmers makes me sweat...haha!

KC: Disco balls or rainbows?

TG: Rainbows all day. One of my favorite Maya Angelou speeches is "Rainbows in the Cloud." It encourages you to look for the rainbows in the clouds of your life. We all have difficult situations, but there's always a lesson or someone special that is the rainbow. She says to look for the rainbows in your clouds so you can be prepared to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. She was a special human. 

KC: Center Stage or Flashdance?

TG: Flashdance...I'm pretty sure I had the audition choreography mastered. I'd do it in my living room when no one was looking.

KC: One word to describe yourself?

TG: Manifestor - I'd like to think that it's my superpower. I'm pretty good at finding a way to make things happen, even if they seem impossible.

YAY! Totally warm and fuzzy, right? Thank you so much, Tricia, for sharing your insights and wisdom! Now I hope you’ll do us both a favor and share this article with a friend (or 5) who you think would love to read it.

Your Friend In Dance - Katrena

MindBody SPARK Is Here! (And Why It's Slightly Incomplete)

FRIENDS! It’s a big day for me, because the creative dance curriculum I’ve been working so hard on is now LIVE in the Different Drummer Dance online store!

MindBody SPARK creative dance curriculum

The store went live earlier this month, and has lots of great resources for dance educators and studio owners (with still more goodies to come!), but the MindBody SPARK curriculum took a little longer, because, well, it’s a big project with lots of moving parts, and I wanted to take my time to give you the best program possible!

I’d love for you to check out the store here, and get a more in-depth look at the curriculum here! But I also want to tell you why the MindBody SPARK curriculum is still slightly incomplete, and why I decided to make it live anyways.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a series of Instagram Stories I did where I explained my decision, but it comes down to this: earlier this summer I found out I have several ovarian cysts that are causing me pain and discomfort, not only physically, but mentally. Physically because they make me feel bloated and uncomfortable, and mentally because my physical state of discomfort makes my brain say things like ‘you’re fat/ugly’, and ‘your body is out of control’. Not nice things to say to yourself… and especially hard for me to come to terms with when I’m all about body positivity and positive self talk. Yet, I kept pushing myself to complete the curriculum, and I did, minus one part - the curriculum video demonstrations.

I give myself credit for trying, but things kept coming up that would derail me - I forgot to download my music and didn’t have a WiFi connection, I needed a tripod to really get the right angle, etc. Finally I realized that the deep, dark reason I kept getting derailed and not finishing this aspect of my project was because I just didn’t want to see myself on camera. I knew it would send me into a tailspin of self bashing and shaming, and I just didn’t want to deal with it.

My Instagram post on why I didn’t complete the videos for the MindBody SPARK curriculum.

My Instagram post on why I didn’t complete the videos for the MindBody SPARK curriculum.

I was faced with the conundrum: do I force myself to get through the videos and deliver on a product I’d been promising would be complete, making my customers happy but making myself miserable, OR, do I pause the videos and return to filming them at a later date, when I feel better, but risk disappointing my customers (and myself) by not finishing my product on time?

I decided on the latter. It was not an easy decision, but as all of us know, the negative voices in our heads can be so fierce and mean, and as someone who’s business is built around body positivity and encouraging positive self talk and confidence, I knew I’d be letting not only myself and my business down by pushing through, but also my customers and followers who look to me to set an example for embodying positive self image and talk.

So, friends, yes, the MindBody SPARK creative dance curriculum is live and available for purchase (yay!), but the video elements won’t be available until later this year, after I’ve had surgery to remove the cysts and feel both physically and emotionally better. (If you do decide to purchase the curriculum before that date, I will happily walk you through any exercises over the phone!)

I hope you’ll understand, and celebrate not only the publishing of a work that I’m truly passionate about and 100% believe will change the way we educate young dancers, but also celebrate me taking a body positive step forward for myself that was really hard. I really do think that we’re called to do the work that we need to learn the most; I preach a lot about body positivity and empowerment for others because it’s a lesson I will continue to need to learn for myself.

Thanks so much for reading, for sharing, and for your support! If you’re interested in purchasing the MindBody SPARK curriculum, you can get the deets here, email me to chat about it, or punch the button below to get added to my email list to receive further updates.

Your Friend in Dance,

Katrena

Back To (Dance) School Goodies!

Ah September. I can practically smell the glue sticks, Crayola crayons, and Lunchables. It's a bittersweet time for many of us, because who doesn't love the fresh start that fall brings, but also, back to school routines and the ho-hum of everyday life can be a bit blah.

Affirmation coloring bracelets to use with your students are just some of the goodies in the DDD Online Store!

Affirmation coloring bracelets to use with your students are just some of the goodies in the DDD Online Store!

So to curb the blues you might be feeling about facing fall, today I'm sharing some of my favorite goodies on the newly published DDD Online Store!

There's everything from free worksheet downloads for your dance business to affirmation cards you can use with your students, not to mention a FREE download of the first Module in my Creative Dance Curriculum, which is chock full of exercises, music suggestions, choreography, a BrainDance, and so much more!

All 10 of the Creative Dance Curriculum Modules will be available for purchase on Sept 15th, and if you're curious about what, exactly, makes this program different from any others, just check this out:

What makes the Creative Dance Curriculum (CDC) unique is its attention to the WHOLE dancer. This method teaches dance from the inside out, using body positive affirmations, growth mindset statements and attention to each dancer’s individual needs. It teaches not only solid and sound dance technique, but tools that will help students grow into happy and healthy humans - body, mind, and spirit.

I hope you'll browse around and take it all in, then let me know what your favorite items are, so I can deliver even more of those goods to you! Let me know in the comments - what are the top things you're lusting over in the Different Drummer Dance Online Store?

The ONE Thing Dance Teachers Can Do To Help Students

Not too long ago, on the wonderful Business of Dance Podcast, I was asked what ONE thing dance teachers could to bring more body positivity into their classrooms, and my response was to become more aware of their language.

Now post podcast interview me realizes that this is a rather nebulous suggestion (although still a valid one), so I've broken my answer down a bit and am sharing it with you today.

I actually made a little video of it over on my YouTube channel (which I'd LOVE it if you subscribed to!), and am including that below. In the video I talk about how this can bring body positivity into your classes, but you can also use this technique with giving any kind of feedback to your dancers.

Yes, we as teachers absolutely need to be aware of the language we use around our students because words matter (case in point: raise your hand if you can still recall that one thing a teacher said to you 10, 20, 30 years ago that still makes you feel about as special as a a lone sock on the side of the highway), but bringing more awareness to our words is a lifelong process, so here's an easier solution.

PRAISE YOUR STUDENTS HONESTLY AND TACTFULLY

So maybe they had a bad day in class and you can't even think of a single thing to compliment them on. Tell them you're glad they showed up and made it through class. That's not giving false praise, that's encouraging them to be determined, and naming it, aloud to your student sends the message that it's ok not to have a great day, that their value goes beyond how many pirouettes they did that day or how technically correct their alignment was.

Ok, so hoooooooow exactly do you go about praising your students honestly and tactfully? Well, funny you should mention that, because I've got a set of compliment cards for sale over in the Different Drummer Dance store! But you can also just put these compliments into your own words and put them on a Post-It or 3x5 card and hand them to your students at the end of the day.

Which method will you be trying? Give me a shout out and let me know!

Backstage With Rachel Stewart & Mary P. Gorder of All That Dance & Love Your Body Week

SUUUUUUPER excited to bring you all this month's Backstage With blog because it gave me all the feels and I know it will for you too! I got to interview Rachel Stewart and Mary P Gorder, of All That Dance in Seattle. These two, along with Maygan Wurzer, the Founder and Director of All That Dance, established Love Your Body Week - a unique (and ah-mazing) celebration for dancers at their studio of all that their bodies can do. When I found out about Love Your Body Week (LYBW), I literally did a happy dance in my chair, and immediately emailed Mary to get the scoop on their awesome teaching philosophy. Let's dive on in!

KC: What's your earliest memory of dance?

RS: As a young child, I’d wear my mom’s pointe shoes and pretend to be a famous ballet dancer.  I’d wear several petticoats for a tutu, and used a table in the garage as my stage.

MG: My memories are similar to Rachel’s - my mom is not a dancer but a musician, so there was always music in our house. I was constantly moving, and constantly bossing around neighbor kids and making them perform in my “shows”. I think the earliest dance I remember watching was the ballet sequence at the end of “An American in Paris”, when they are dancing inside of famous paintings.  It was absolutely magical for me.

 KC: What's your background with dance? Was it love at first plie?

RS: I started ballet class when I was in grade school. I remember standing at the barre, practicing pliés and tendus with an old ballet record for accompaniment. Honestly, I hated it, and didn’t dance again for several years, when I discovered jazz dance.  I loved jazz dance, it was such a big deal in the 80s. I started tap and eventually fell deeply in love with ballet.

MG: I told my parents again and again that I wanted to be a ballet teacher when I grew up, but I refused to actually go to class for years.  I was the kid that cried the whole time and refused to participate! Every year we would try again though, and eventually I found the courage.

KC: How did you get into teaching? What's your favorite thing about it?

RS: I love working with kids and teens, so teaching became a way to share my love of dance.

MG: I started teaching in college.  I took the job just as a way to make a little money in a way that fit into my class schedule, but quickly fell in love with it and haven’t done anything else for work since.  Dance has always been a passion for me, but in a way I think my heart is more connected to teaching than it ever was to my own training or to performing. Watching kids grow is absolutely my favorite thing about it.  There are millions of tiny ways that happens day to day - the little one that finally figures out how to skip with both legs, the teen that finds that extra bit of bravery to try something new.  Being able to work with the same dancers overtime and watch them develop their artistic voice and identity is what drives me as a teacher.

KC: Who are your dance heroes, and why?

RS: My dance hero is Akira Armstrong of Pretty Big Movement. She is such a talented dancer and choreographer.

MG: Too many to list!  I have had so many incredible teachers over the years that have nurtured and inspired me, and I work alongside so many exceptional dance educators.  They are all my heroes. In terms of famous performers, Michaela DePrince is a huge inspiration. Her story is unreal, and she is truly captivating onstage. I love the messages of self love and persistence she is so intentional about sharing. I also very much admire Hope Boykin as a dancer and choreographer, and as an advocate for and positive example of self acceptance and self care.Ashley Bouder is also speaking up right now about feminism in dance and in ballet specifically, a conversation that needs more attention and more voices.

KC: Tell us about Love Your Body Week at your studio, All That Dance. What is it, and how did it begin?

RS: I started LYBW in 2005 when I was teaching at All That Dance (ATD). I was volunteering with the National Eating Disorders Association at the time. I’d spend hours answering the crisis line, speaking to people who were losing their lives to eating disorders. Then I’d teach dance class and hear 5 year-olds saying they were fat. I knew the dance world needed to change, but I wasn’t sure how to change it. I modeled LYBW after National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. It’s taken 12 years and a lot of collaboration to figure it out.

MG: The program has grown so much over the years!  Rachel started LYBW in 2005, and then Emily German worked with her for several years on it.  I came on staff 10 years ago, and was lucky enough to start collaborating on it too. Rachel and I now work together to oversee it.  Last year a version of our curriculum was adopted by the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA), a program of the National Dance Education Organization.  Rachel and I create and organize body positive activities for each class at ATD to participate in, and our NHSDA students (juniors and seniors in our highest levels) do much of the leading and facilitating in classrooms.  Teen leadership is one of my very favorite facets of our program - it allows for a whole different level of engagement and empowerment for those dancers. Each activity culminates in the drawing or writing of some sort of positive message to post on the mirror, so by the end of the week our mirrors are completely covered up with messages of self love.  

KC: Why do you think body positivity and inclusion is important in the dance community?

RS: Dance is about creativity, expression, and communication. I’m tired of the people in power in the dance world telling dancers how to look. Dance is our birthright, and is a core part of the human experience. Dance shouldn’t be a tool to oppress and marginalize people.

MG: I can only imagine how many brilliant, talented dancers have been dissuaded from pursuing the art form because they were made to feel as though they didn’t have the right look or the right body to do it.  Theirs are movement voices that the world won’t see or experience because of this narrow body ideal. Every body has a story to tell, and everyone deserves the opportunity to be seen and heard.  I feel very fortunate that I chose to continue dancing, in spite of some tough experiences in my own training.  I am thankful that this art is still such an important part of my life, and it’s my hope that teaching inclusively and teaching from a body positive perspective can help encourage others to trust that they are capable, and that they are valuable and worthy as dancers and artists.

KC: What's one of your favorite funny or heart warming stories about teaching dance?

RS: I had a 5 year old student who would come early to class every week and tie all of the scarves to her leotard. She would then choreograph beautiful routines as “rainbow bird.”  I adored her certainty, her expression, and her creativity. To this day, the thought of “rainbow bird” makes me smile.

MG: Just this week a teen told me in pointe class that she is so grateful for her experiences at ATD because her teachers never give her corrections about how something looks, but rather about how it should feel or function.  That is absolutely one of my favorite things I have heard from a student, because it speaks to the body positive culture that our whole faculty works so hard to create.

KC:Are there any cliches or preconceptions about dance you try to correct in your teaching?

RS: I’m not currently teaching dance, but when I teach, I try to use dance to empower students to be their authentic selves.

MG: There is so much dance in the media now, and so much of it is all about tricks.  I strive to foster real artistry and human connection.

KC: What's next for you and your businesses? Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?

RS: We are presenting LYBW at two conferences this fall. I want to continue to grow the program and share it with others. We celebrate LYBW at our studio in November, it is my favorite week of the year.

MG: Conference presentations are definitely the next big exciting project for us. Dance Educators Association of Washington in September, National Dance Education Organization in October. I am also very much looking forward to continue working with NHSDA as they take on their second year celebrating LYBW with us.

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

RS: Well, I’m a mental health therapist, so when I tell people what I do for a living, they often get quiet and look uncomfortable.

MG: I say that I’m a full-time dance teacher, and that I love what I do.

And now... just for funsies...

KC: Burritos or tacos?

RS: Both! On the same plate!

MG: Rachel I respect your answer.  I say either, or both, as long as it comes with guacamole.  

KC: Legwarmers or ballet skirts?

RS: Both! Legwarmers and ballet skirts are a match made in heaven. 

MG: Legwarmers.  Well, legwarmer.  I usually just wear one on the right.


KC: Disco balls or rainbows?

RS: Rainbow disco balls! (That must be a thing)

MG:Too hard to choose. Both have their own intrinsic value.  I need time outside and I love the magic of a rainbow, but I can’t say no to anything that sparkles.  

KC: Center Stage or Flashdance?

RS: Definitely Flashdance. I’m a child of the 80s. I still listen to What a Feeling when I need to get pumped up.

MG: Well I came of age in the early 2000s, so  I have to choose Center Stage. I may or may not have stayed up all night at a sleepover learning Cooper’s ballet from the end with a dance friend...I may or may not still know most of it...

KC: One word to describe yourself?

RS: Well, I can’t decide which word to pick, so maybe indecisive.

MG: Tenderhearted

Thank you SO MUCH Rachel and Mary for sharing your insights and time with me! I'm so inspired by your work and feel wonderful having found more body positivity + ballet/dance peeps! Make sure you check out All That Dance here, and the NHSDA page here

Now I want to hear from YOU! What will you be doing to encourage body love and positivity at your dance studio? Get in touch and let me know below!!

Body Positivity For Dancers - How To Respond To Food Judgements

Hey All! If you're one of the smart cookies who's subscribed to my Newsletter list, a few weeks ago you got an email in your inbox that had this fun little graphic, and a story about how as a young dancer, I very vividly remember what a chaperone told me about how good it was that I only ate salad during a summer intensive.

Remembering that is what inspired me to create this visual, in hopes that it might be of service to you if you have dancers heading off to summer programs. They'll be encountering lots of new situations, both in the dance classroom and outside of it, and it's likely that some of those situations might include judgements, shaming, or just general weirdness about food choices.

This list offers suggestions for how to navigate those situations, while remaining friendly, positive, and while standing in our own power about what choices are good for us.

I also talk more in depth about these in the video below.

If you're digging these body positivity vibes, I'd love for you to do 2 things!

#1 - sign up for my Newsletter! It's super non-spammy and I send lots of downloads like the one above, as well as tips and resources for your teaching practice.

#2 - check out my Body Positivity & Empowerment In The Dance Classroom course for more in depth ideas and strategies to light your dancers up from the inside out and give them the confidence to grow and develop as self assured, self loving dancers.

Let me know if you'll be sharing this list or this video with your students as they head off to their summer adventures, and happy dancing!