Parent Observation Dos and Don’ts

So the South Dayton School of Dance, the studio I co-own with my amazing business partners, is opening up our classrooms for parent observation next week.  This can be a great opportunity for our dancers to show off all they have accomplished and learned.  Here are some helpful hints to make this a positive experience for you as a parent, your dancer and the faculty.

  1. Do be respectful of other visitors in the classroom as well as the teacher and your dancer.  Please turn off all cellphones and refrain from talking during the class.  Also, give the class your full attention and abstain from texting, reading or doing work during the observation period.
  2. Don’t watch only your dancer. It is easy to get caught up watching your child, but it is important to get a good understanding of where your child is in relation to the rest of the class. 
  3. Don’t just watch your dancer’s technical ability, but look at their behavior in class as well.  Do they listen, follow instruction and apply the corrections given not just them, but the corrections given to others?  Do they keep their eye on the teacher?  Do they hang on the barre when the teacher’s back is turned?  Do they stare out the window?
  4. Don’t bring very young children to observation week.  Remember that a dance class is like any other classroom; it is a learning environment and it only works when there are little to no distractions. 
  5. Do congratulate your dancer on their hard work, improvement and dedication.  Enjoy all their accomplishments and applaud at the end of class. 

I look forward to seeing you! 

Being Afraid to Talk About Nutrition

I have found that talking honestly about health, nutrition and yes weight can be a scary topic for any dance teacher.  I also have found that it is my responsibility as a dance educator to talk about all of these things and when I don’t, that’s what makes all of it so taboo.  I’ll explain how I finally came to this decision after years of teaching, but first…..

The truth of the matter is that if your child wants to become a dancer or is even toying with the idea, they need to know certain things.  Weight is an important factor when it comes to getting a job in this field as well as the role they want in Nutcracker.  Most professional dancers weigh about 10% below the normal range.  This is important for several reasons.

  1.  It’s esthetically pleasing.  Dance is all about the lines of the body and it’s important for the audience to see those lines.
  2. Most dancers need to be lifted and partnered and it’s the dancer’s responsibility to their partner to be at a weight that is easy to maneuver.
  3. It will lengthen their career because extra weight is extra stress on the joints and tendons, especially when you’re talking pointe work.
  4. It will allow the dancer to have higher extension, higher jumps and stellar stamina which are essential to the profession.  Simply because their body weighs less; it takes less effort to move.

Yet many dance teachers fear discussing the all too important issues of weight and nutrition with their students for one major reason; we are afraid of it resulting in eating disorders.  This is NOT what we want for any of our dancers so we become negligent and don’t talk about it at all.

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