Nutrition/ maintaining a healthy weight

As a Dancer, maintaining a healthy body is the most important. However, it is extremely difficult to eat healthy and maintain a good weight during our busy schedule. It is also a known fact that dancers are much more likely to enter a food disorder than other sports due to the constant comparison that is created in our world. If you do not have the best lines than you are not the best, if you are not skinny enough you are not the best. This is a very serious and real topic being discussed that takes more than planning to keep up.

As a teacher Eating Disorders are very real and concerning. Each student no matter what level you are always compares their self to an older more advance dancer. Multiple times no matter how much weight they loose they never actually will look like the dancer they are trying to imitate due to flexibly or body physicality. Education is one of the biggest ways to help relieve the problem. As a teacher or studio owner you must teach your students how to care for there body. Having awareness and knowing the tools to help your self will be a big way to prevent students to follow this direction. Sometimes it is not always about the look. This is one area a child/teen has control. A lot of the time control is not given to children and young adults making them look to find something that they can decide. Unfortunately this leaves it up to the teacher to notice the issue since the parents/ family are not usually aware.

Prevention is the next tool. Some dance studios have weigh in’s or scales in the dressing room. This is a very easy was for students to become obsessed with there weight etc. As a teacher Psychology classes are also very beneficial. Teenagers do not always tell you what the matter is and you as the teacher have to figure it out. If signs are given proof is always beneficial. Have photos of them over the course of the semester or term and show them how different they look. It is not a bad idea to have photos done at the beginning of the semester in case something like this occurs. Do not put up posters that are model type! Posters representing this unhealthy look will only make the kids want to look skinnier.

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These are a few photos that are of course extremely inspiring but not the ideal representation for your students. Depending on the studio some our more competition based which these would be normal photos to see but to a recreational studio this would be difficult to achieve.

Below are some tips to direct your students depending on there age if this scenario comes up.

Tweens

  • 9-12 years’ old
    • they want to be teenagers
    • very acceptable to this
    • prior to puberty the realize their physicality
    • puberty is hitting earlier due to hormones and food etc.
    • These kids are fairly isolated since kids have smart phones and ipods etc.
    • As a dance teacher you are going to notice sooner than the parents- seeing in Leo and tights will be noticeable
    • Seminars and nutrition
      • Spending so much time in front of the mirrors are a struggle
      • Parents are not going to believe you
    • Tell the parents asap

Teenagers

  • 13-18
    • pull them in to the office and talk to them individually
      • keep the trust
      • don’t tell the parents until permission is given or until you cannot help anymore

Overall this is a serious problem that must be taken more seriously for students and teachers a like.

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