Life skills in dance
Fueling our active kids- where to start

I, like many parents, struggle to get my very active children to fuel their bodies with proper nutrition.  When faced with a stubborn six-year old who believes ice cream is a major food group and refuses to come anywhere near the dinner table when something green or “different” is being served and a very picky pre-teen, I often throw my hands up and say,  “Just eat whatever you want!”  I mean, really, who wants to argue over dinner when it’s about the only time of the day I get to spend with my kids???


Oh, you just want to order pizza? ….for the third time this week…  Okay, let’s do it.  Meanwhile, I’ll eat my healthy baked salmon with quinoa and asparagus. 


What? Wait a minute.  This doesn’t make any sense. Something has got to change!!! 


I’m sure many of you have faced this same sort of internal battle; the constant debate over health versus ease and convenience.  We are all so busy with life that consistently making proper choices can be dang near impossible. Nutrition is such a HUGE subject with so many varied opinions and “facts.” Navigating the slew of resources (blogs, websites, articles, etc) can be so overwhelming that a third pizza delivery of the week may seem like not such a bad idea after all. 


**Let me just state right here – I am not an expert.  I am a mom with a degree in business management and a busy, stressful full-time job at Purdue. I am trying to navigate this confusing and frustrating part of parenting just like everyone else.  Health and fitness are my passion and my main hobby, but I still crave a bag of chips or a bowl of ice cream sometimes.**


So where to begin?  Let’s start with a main important part of their diets.  HYDRATION


This is one area in which I have experienced relative success thus far when it comes to setting my kids on the right path.  They all drink water.  Just water.  No need for sugary flavoring necessary. I didn’t drink plain water until I was in my mid 20’s!!!  I considered a certain popular lime-flavored caffeine filled soft drink my main source of hydration for more than a decade.  Oh the calories I could have saved if I had known better!  Don’t get me wrong.  They still drink soda on occasion (although we’re trying to cut back on those occasions) and sometimes juices or popular flavored rehydration drinks make their way into our house.


So why is drinking water versus a soda, juice, or sports drink better?


The simple answer - no sugar, sweeteners, or chemical dyes.  Reducing sugars and sweeteners in our kids’ diets can improve their moods and appetites, prevent tooth decay, eliminate the sugar crash effect (better energy), lessen cravings for more sugar, and reduce the risk of childhood obesity.  According to an article on WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/top-10-ways-to-stay-hydrated), water really is the best source for rehydration.


Healthy Kids (http://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/kids-teens/choose-water-as-a-drink.aspx) has great tips to get your kids to drink more water. Make simple changes to get them drinking more water. If your child struggles with the flavor of water, add some fresh lemon or orange juice. Stop getting soda at restaurants or having soda available at home, pack water in their lunches or sports bag, or offer water at dinner before other beverages. It’s not necessary to “go cold turkey;” start small and work toward getting your kids to drink more water than other beverage options. Perfection is not the goal here.  Focus on progress towards healthier choices and you’ll be on your way to raising a kid that makes healthy choices!

Below are a few other sources of information on this topic:
Gatorade vs. Water: Which is Better for Kids?

U.S. kids aren’t drinking enough water
Got Water? Most Kids, Teens Don't Drink Enough

Amanda Hamaker - Mom of two dance loving girls and one sports-aholic son, TPA Assistant Events Coordinator (June, 2015)

Thoughts on teaching

TPA Blog

Anticipation and excitement always increase as we approach a new session of dance at TPA. As a dance teacher, I have found there to be a very positive pressure to create the perfect lesson plan for my students’ first class. I believe this exists for me because I see teaching dance as an art form. Just like some artists plan every detail and every brush stroke, and how actors and actresses know each and every word of their script before the play. In order to create an outstanding first impression, this happens especially when first starting out. We as teachers tell ourselves, “I’m going to be extra organized this time around” and “No matter what, I have to make sure this session is better than last.” While although those are good comments to tell ourselves, we need a reminder that we can’t plan to perfection. I can’t know exactly how my class will run before it even takes place. It’s understanding that while we have visions in place and we want specific results from a class, our ability to go with the flow and make on-the-spot decisions or change the almighty lesson plan during class sometimes make for the most fun and memorable moments. Not only is there creativity and innovation in making up choreography, but also in the flexibility of working with the students. That to me is a huge part of the art of teaching dance.


Excitedly,

Miss Hannah- TPA Intern and Teacher (June, 2015)

I am honored to serve at Turning Pointe Academy as a Hip Hop and Jazz teacher and look forward to encouraging the following characteristics in my students: commitment, self-discipline, confidence and enjoyment. In order for a dancer to be successful, each of these qualities is valuable. These are skills that students will be able to apply in every facet of their lives as well.


Miss Shannon - TPA Staff member (January, 2016)

Pushing Boundaries

The responsibility of a dancer is to constantly push herself to be the best possible version of herself she can be; she must test limits, try new things, and always put in 100%.  What tends to happen is that a dancer will get comfortable doing what she is good at and cap her potential. Whether it be a certain style, skill, or technique, she will pull it out of her pocket whenever someone is watching‒ because that is what she is good at. Too often, a dancer quits growing.  She quits testing her limits.  She settles for what she knows she can do.  
Humans have a natural desire for comfort. Generally, we all want to be able to relax in a routine with no surprises and no moments of uncertainty or doubt. Routine is great.  Comfort is great, but so is being well rounded.  So is experience. Dance is an outlet for most of us, so why not round yourself out with new experiences?  Take master classes.  Attend shows.  Improv and don’t care if you look dumb. 
From my personal experience, I have been in places and met people who are okay with settling. I have been taught to do what I know to do.  My recent experiences have since changed my point of view. Turning Pointe Academy has high expectations.  TPA will not allow a student to be too comfortable‒ the staff stress growth and challenge, while creating a safe atmosphere for them to be comfortable with discomfort.  In dealing with young dancers, it is important to make it a habit of trying new things.  


Miss Emilee - TPA Student Teacher and Dance Team member (September, 2016)