Health & Body
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As a mental-health advocate working in dance, I have the honor of speaking with teachers all over the world. Recently, I have been receiving more frequent inquiries on noticing self-harm in dancers.

"Self-harm" refers to anytime someone hurts themselves on purpose, and it can include cutting, punching, bruising, pulling hair, burning or even breaking bones. According to the National Center for Health Research, self-harm is increasing among teenage girls. The Center cites a 2018 study that found that 18 percent of teens had purposely injured themselves over the past year.

The increase in incidents of self-harm that dance teachers have expressed to me makes sense given these statistics. And anecdotally, dancers may be even more likely to engage in self-harming behavior because of the rigor of training and the prevalence of perfectionism and low self-esteem among dancers.

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Health & Body
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

2020 will forever be remembered for a range of stressful events, from a global pandemic to a civil rights uprising to a twisted election cycle.

But for dance educators, this year has been marked by on-again, off-again employment, work beyond our job descriptions, and fast and frequent cycles of adaptation.

Back in March, when most of us were scrambling to learn about some app called Zoom, we were just following the age-old mantra: "The show must go on!" There was little time to stop and think about how we were feeling or how our lives and livelihoods would be affected.

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Health & Body
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Touch has been a hallmark of dance teaching for as long as most of us can remember. But even before COVID-19, many in the dance community were reconsidering their use of touch, both because of its questionable effectiveness and the historical lack of consent around it.

This year, many dance educators have been successfully teaching without touch for months on end, finding creative new ways to give corrections they'd normally make hands-on. So now that we've learned to teach without touch, is it time to abandon it altogether?

Dance Teacher spoke to Donna Krasnow, PhD, a dancer/choreographer, dance teacher, researcher, and co-author of the book Motor Learning and Control for Dance, about whether we need touch in dance training—and how to use it more effectively.

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Health & Body
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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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Health & Body
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Most everyone has experienced the uncomfortable sensation of a trigger point. A trigger point is a hyperirritable spot in a muscle that often feels like a dull ache or chronically sore point.

Trigger point discomfort (which is more officially called "myofascial trigger points" or "myofascial pain syndrome") can sneak up on you. You don't yell "Ouch!" and think, "I have a new trigger point!" Instead, they often appear after muscle strains have healed, but the area still feels stiff and sore. You may or may not feel a lump or knot in the muscle.

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