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4 Ways to Boost Your Body Image in the Studio

Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with dancers at Atlanta Ballet, offers tips for creating a more body-positive studio experience:


1. Ditch the Mirrors.

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Kaslow recommends that teachers lead class with the mirrors covered once in a while. If this isn't possible, try taking a break from constantly assessing your reflection throughout class. Think of the mirror as a tool to rehearse your relationship with the audience rather than as an outlet to scrutinize your shape.

2. Drown Out the Noise.

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"Dancers will hear comments their teachers make, what their parents say, what someone else's parents say, and every little comment can grow into a big picture," says Kaslow. But no one's opinion is as valuable as your own. Your own self-encouragement is more significant than the chatter on the periphery.

3. Don't Forget Your Strengths.

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Remember that the best dancers aren't lauded for how much they weigh. "Appreciate what your body brings to the table," Kaslow says.

4. Talk About It.

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Acknowledge that everyone needs a little help with their confidence, and that you aren't alone when it comes to insecurities about your body. "Oftentimes, people don't come for help until they have an outright eating disorder," Kaslow warns. If you normalize healthy conversations about self-image with your peers and colleagues, it can help stop an insecurity from turning into something more harmful.

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Courtesy Ava Noble

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Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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