Teaching Tips

Ask the Experts: Do You Monitor Your Dancers' Social-Media Posts?

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Q: Do you monitor what your dancers post on social media?


A: The short answer is no, we do not. That being said, we do talk to our dancers about being responsible and respectful of others. If something online is brought to our attention that concerns us, we will address the situation with the dancers involved and take the proper steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.

I do know fellow studio owners who keep tabs on all their dancers' postings on social media and consequently address anything they consider to be an inappropriate representation of the dancers in their studio. Some even prohibit their competitive dancers to have private accounts.

I believe that young people and adults alike will often write a comment on social media that they would never say to someone's face, and it concerns me. I personally would be very happy to have the studio be a "social-media-free zone," where dancers would have no choice but to converse with each other. I think that their social skills would improve greatly. That being said, as a studio owner and teacher, I feel that it's a parent's responsibility to supervise their own child's social-media accounts.

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 onstageblog.com, 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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Teaching Tips
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After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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