A Better You

November 2013 | A Better You | Ointment Options

Which pain-relieving gel, cream, or lotion is in your dance bag? Dancers and teachers who are suffering from day-to-day aches and pains can look to a plethora of available medical and quasi-medical ointments for relief. Let’s give those salves a look and see which ones to toss and which you might add to your bag.

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October 2013 | A Better You | Sound Advice

Vocal hygiene is not just for professional speakers, singers, or triple threats. Dance teachers and studio owners too need to take care of their voices. Vocal quality is important—it can be an asset or an off-putting liability.

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September 2013 | A Better You | Pampering During Pregnancy

How to make nine months of change easy on the body By Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT You got the happy news: you’re pregnant! Now what? There are so many things to consider. How do you handle the demands of pregnancy while maintaining your teaching load? What can you do to help make sure your baby…

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September 2013 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Chris Collins

NOMINATED BY: Tiffany Hopper, teacher: “Chris is a wonderful role model and a wonderful boss. He has been an inspiration to so many over the years. We’ve danced at Disney World, on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, performed for special-needs friends, participated in March of Dimes walks, and attended countless workshops and competitions. Although we participate in competitions, our primary focus is on education.

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August 2013 | A Better You | Sidestepping the Sidelines

How many tendus do you think you’ve done in your lifetime? Hip circles? Battements? Scary, isn’t it? Dance training requires countless repetitions of the same movements, and performing and teaching careers often follow. And all those ronds de jambe and arabesques add up. Tack on the number of times a teacher demonstrates a step, and we’re looking at some potentially serious overuse issues.

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July 2013 | A Better You | Sniffles and Sneezes

One thing is certain in the dance world: the show must go on. It’s all about delivering the product. But sometimes your body doesn’t cooperate; like everyone else, dancers and teachers do get sick. And sometimes this means having to make a decision about whether it’s time to stay home.

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May-June 2013 | A Better You | Perk Up With Perfect Posture

I often hear people say they can spot dancers and dance teachers by the way they walk. These observers note the dancers’ grace in motion and vertical stance. That’s true; those qualities are ingrained in us over years of training and performing. But once you’re teaching, all those hours in the classroom and at a computer, plus fatigue from doing too much on a regular basis, can take a toll on even the most aligned backs and straight shoulders.

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March-April 2013 | A Better You | Shape Up for Summer

Tickets? Check. Reservations? Check. You’ve been waiting for months to rejuvenate, get remotivated, and reconnect with colleagues at the annual summertime conference. The time has finally arrived. All systems are go. It’s “you” time.

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February 2013 | A Better You | Getting Out With Grace

Most teachers, myself included, have witnessed messy employee/employer breakups, or worse, been a party to the dreaded dance divorce. Sometimes teachers are fired. By the time that happens to you, there’s not much you can do except maintain your dignity and keep your chin up. But making a decision to quit, and doing so in the most positive way possible, requires thought, planning, and maturity.

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January 2013 | A Better You | Say What?

What do rock bands and dance teachers have in common? No, this isn’t a joke. Sadly, the answer is hearing loss caused by listening to loud noises and music over long periods of time. Here are some facts and tips on how to protect yourself so that you can dance to the music for the rest of your career.

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December 2012 | A Better You | Bodywork

Feeling achy? Are your feet tired and sore? Did you tweak your back demonstrating a step? Where do you go for relief? Many people find that massage can work miracles. But what can it do? How does it work? Who does what, and where can you find a reputable massage therapist?

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November 2012 | A Better You | Dealing With Doubt

Successful teaching demands that the instructor take command of her material and her classroom with authority. This can be tough, especially when you’re just launching a teaching career. Think about when you first started teaching. Did you come roaring out of the gate, full of confidence, or do you still sometimes struggle with doubts about your qualifications, teaching abilities, or leadership qualities?

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October 2012 | A Better You | Wobble Your Way to Strength

How do dance teachers stay sound and healthy enough to demonstrate safely after they stop dancing full time? It’s tricky business. We take for granted the flexibility and strength acquired throughout our performing and early teaching days. But all too often our bodies let us know that after all those years, they need more attention.

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September 2012 | A Better You | Fighting Fatigue

It’s no secret that dance teachers often have long, grueling hours. Handling your own fatigue when you’re faced with a barrage of personalities, minor emergencies, and classroom challenges isn’t easy.

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July 2012 | A Better You | Headache Help

If you suffer from frequent or severe headaches, here’s one more reason to be glad you weren’t around in the not-so-good old days: one treatment in centuries past was a technique called trephining.

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May-June 2012 | A Better You | Health Care How-Tos

Do-it-yourself health care is a part of life for many dancers—and dance teachers. Over time you’ve figured out how to tame that tendonitis and soothe strained muscles, so you might be one of those people who often delay seeking medical attention.

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February 2012 | A Better You | Beating the Blahs

Do you realize how the seasons affect you? Weather affects mood. Dance teachers aren’t immune, especially since many studios, looking for a steady income stream, offer summer and holiday camps that keep their faculty teaching through all seasons.

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January 2012 | A Better You | Mood Swings, Menopause, and Men

Hormones. You can’t live without them, but sometimes it’s hard to live with them, and that includes when you’re on your feet all day, teaching and dealing with teens who are as temperamental as you feel. How to cope? Being aware of what’s happening and being kind to yourself are good places to start.

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December 2011 | A Better You | Down in the Mouth

Take a test. Look at your face in the mirror. Open your mouth, make a fist with the knuckles held vertically, and see how many knuckles you can fit in between your teeth. This is called the “freeway space.”

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October 2011 | A Better You | Osteoporosis and You

Why should dance teachers worry about their bones? Osteoporosis is basically an epidemic. About 10 million Americans have this bone-weakening disease, with another 34 million at risk, the National Osteoporosis Foundation says.

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September 2011 |A Better You | Helping Your Hands

As a teacher, think how many times a day you use your hands. As a dancer, consider the beauty of a delicate hand in a port de bras. Our hands are priceless, yet we don’t always think of protecting their health.

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