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Ask the Experts: How Do I Help My Comp Dancers De-Stress?

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Q: Balancing school and competitive dance can be very challenging for dancers, especially in high school. How can I help my dancers manage their stress?


A: I believe it's important for dancers to have as much time to study as possible. Freeing them up to focus on schoolwork will help them avoid burnout. Our senior and advanced dancers are at the studio three nights per week. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, they dance from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. (During competition season, we also hold rehearsals on Sundays.) Having Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays off allows them to study and to have personal time that is essential for balance.

We request that all high-school-aged dancers give us a list of their exam schedules in advance. Then, we try our best to avoid scheduling visiting choreographers on dates when our dancers have pressure at school. We also allow dancers to miss ballet classes during exams, as long as they make them up when they are done with testing. This is very challenging to accomplish, but we do our best.

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It can be tricky to get away for a conference, whether due to travel budget concerns or finding a substitute to cover your absence. One silver lining of the pandemic is that five conferences are now available online, no travel necessary. You'll find sessions to address your concerns no matter what your role in the dance community—whether you're on the business side, interested in curriculum development, need continuing ed certification, or a performer who wants to teach. Why not gather colleagues from your studio or school for an educational watch party to inspire you as you launch into the new school year?

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Health & Body
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Talar compression syndrome means there is some impingement happening in the posterior portion of the ankle joint. Other medical personnel might call your problem os trigonum syndrome or posterior ankle impingement syndrome or posterior tibiotalar compression syndrome. No matter what they name it—it means you are having trouble moving your ankle through pointing and flexing.

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News
Scott Robbins, Courtesy IABD

The International Association of Blacks in Dance is digitizing recordings of significant, at-risk dance works, master classes, panels and more by Black dancers and choreographers from 1988 to 2010. The project is the result of a $50,000 Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.

"This really is a long time coming," says IABD president and CEO Denise Saunders Thompson of what IABD is calling the Preserving the Legacy and History of Black Dance in America program. "And it's really just the beginning stages of pulling together the many, many contributions of Black dance artists who are a part of the IABD network." Thompson says IABD is already working to secure funding to digitize even more work.

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