Vitamin D and Healthy Fats Are BFFs

Vitamin D is an important part of a dancer’s diet, but did you know it’s a fat-soluble vitamin? That means fat improves the body’s ability to absorb it. You may be thinking, I’ll eat some ice cream while soaking up sun! Turns out, that’s not totally far-fetched. 

According to Rachel Fine, a registered dietitian-nutritionist who works with dancers in New York City, some of the best sources of Vitamin D already include fat, like egg yolks (one a day will give you a huge nutrient boost), as well as fish like salmon or canned tuna. If you’re reaching for a fat-free D source, though—like portobello mushrooms—add a little fat (like olive oil to sauté them). A good rule of thumb, according to Fine, is to make sure all your meals incorporate a protein, a complex carbohydrate and a healthy fat.

As for milk, fat-free may lack the vitamins found in higher-fat varieties. Still, Fine recommends skim or low-fat options to dancers, saying they are better sources for calories, fats and Vitamin D than full-fat milk. If you have the choice, however, Fine suggests reaching for milk that is “fortified,” meaning Vitamins D and A have been added back in.

Music
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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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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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