Health & Body

Ask the Experts: How Can I Better Encourage Healthy Eating at My Studio?


Q: I'm tired of the fast food that's consumed at my studio. I get that families are on the run, but what can I say to encourage healthy eating without harassing anyone?

A: At our studio we try to talk about healthy eating with our students. Unfortunately, I don't feel like everyone is really listening. For two years in a row I've spoken to one competitive dance mom in particular about her son and daughter's eating habits. A Big Mac combo is not what anyone (let alone a 10-year-old) should be eating for dinner before dancing for four hours. I explained that her children would run out of energy and lose their ability to focus less than two hours into an evening of rehearsals because of what she fed them. She would improve their food choices for a week or so, but then fall back to the old habits. Neither of her children have been able to dance up to the level they're capable of because their bodies do not have the right fuel.

This year, I have hired a nutritionist to come in and speak to all of my competitive dancers and their parents. Teaching the dancers how to fuel their bodies has had a major impact on them. Knowing what foods will keep their minds and bodies working has cut down on fatigue and injuries, and their stamina is on the rise. Education about better eating is definitely paying off for us, and I recommend you try it as well.

Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

The term "body shaming" might bring up memories of that instructor from your own training who made critical remarks about—or even poked and prodded—dancers' bodies.

Thankfully, we're (mostly) past the days when authority figures felt free to openly mock a dancer's appearance. But body shaming remains a toxic presence in the studio, says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, psychologist for Atlanta Ballet: "It's just more hidden and more subtle." Here's how to make sure your teaching isn't part of the problem.

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Courtesy Russell

Gregg Russell, an Emmy-nominated choreographer known for his passionate and energetic teaching, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, November 22, at the age of 48.

While perhaps most revered as a master tap instructor and performer, Russell also frequently taught hip-hop and musical theater classes, showcasing a versatility that secured him a successful career onstage and in film and television, both nationally and abroad.

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