For Parents
Alex Clayton (right) in Arden Court with Robert Kleinendorst. Photo by Paul B. Goode courtesy of PTAMD

Back-to-school can be a nerve-racking time for male dance students—especially as they approach middle or high school—and for their parents. Fears of bullying, isolation and low self-esteem are valid worry points, and, as parents, we want to do our best to help our kids feel supported and loved—especially in uncertain times. For a first-person account from a boy whose mom did a lot of the right stuff, we spoke with Alex Clayton, a professional modern dancer who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and is now a third-year member of Paul Taylor Dance Company:

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For Parents
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Q: My family is moving to a new area in a different state, and we won't know anyone there. How can I find a good studio for my serious dancer?

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For Parents
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Q: My teen says she wants to quit dance, but I'm not so sure she should. She's very talented, and I think she's just tired. Plus, we've paid for the semester and recital. Help!

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Health & Body
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It's time to talk seriously about safety in dance education. As the physical and psychological demands put on student dancers escalates—thanks to competitions, social media and ever-evolving choreography—there is a pressing need to consider how we can successfully safeguard young dancers.

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Teaching Tips
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Q: My tween is begging me to go to a faraway summer intensive, claiming "all my friends are going." How do I know if she's ready?

A: It can feel like a rite of passage for serious dancers to attend an intensive at a major ballet school. They dance all day and often explore the area's surroundings or attend performances on weekends. But living away from home, having a roommate and living the "dorm life" can be a challenge.

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Teaching Tips
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Do you have new preschool students enrolling in your upcoming dance year? These tiny dancers just beginning their movement journey are poised to become part of your studio community for the next decade or more.

Keep in mind that dance class may be one of the first times a child under age 5 has been separated from their parents. Dance class can be exciting and full of anxiety for both the parent and the child. As their first teacher, you need to set the stage for an easy, happy and memorable first experience. Here's how—with four studio rules for parents—to create an environment where preschoolers can thrive.

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Teaching Tips
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Dance studios everywhere are looking for new ways to support the latest generation of dancers and dance parents. These Generation Z-ers and millennials need a little extra to hold their attention and keep them coming back to dance class year in and year out.

Aside from strengthening their technique, imbuing their hearts with a passion for dance and helping them cultivate lifelong friendships, here are three small things your studio can do to make these youthful clients happy!

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Studio Owners
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In 2019, dance parents are more eager than ever to observe their child's progress, and stay up-to-date with the ins and outs of what's happening in the classroom. That means yearly recitals aren't always enough to keep them satisfied—especially if you have rules against visitors observing class from week to week. The solution? Visitor observation weeks. Trust us, the guardians and loved ones of your students will love you for it!

We caught up with Suzanne Blake Gerety, vice president of Kathy Blake Dance Studios and regular contributor to Dance Teacher's "Ask The Experts" column, to hear her tips on how to have a successful visitor observation week.

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