Health & Body

Ask Deb: What's the Best Way to Discuss My Injury With the Doctor?

Q: What tips do you have for dancers when they go to the doctor for an injury?

A: It's always good to write down the patterns of what you know about the injury. For example, what makes it worse, and what makes it better? Offer as much as you can about how the injury happened. If it's an acute injury the "how" is pretty clear, but when it's an injury that has slowly come on, it's harder to define. This is why it's so important to know when it hurts, how it hurts and what movement or action inflames it. That information will guide the treatment and rehab process.

Second, talk to the doctor about having a physical therapist help integrate the injured area back into full movement. For example, I have seen multiple dancers not fully rehab from a sprained ankle, only to later incur another injury, often on the opposite leg, because they never fully addressed the compensatory action of shifting the weight off of the injured leg. The body is intelligent and constantly responding to its internal state as well as the forces placed upon it by the outside environment. Once the student can return to full-weight-bearing activities, they must retrain the body to work from center and reestablish proper proprioception.

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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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