In October I wrote you about joining the DA:NCE team, a team of people who love the art of dance and who love children. This winning team spreads movement education and awareness to protect young children from hyper-sexualization in dance through a grass-roots effort. The cultural reality of the sexual objectification of our youngest citizens actually bleeds into a larger picture. We live in a pornified culture that experts label a public health issue. Last month’s blog gave internet links to materials that I released at the NCOSE(National Center on Sexual Exploitation) Conference in Houston Texas providing awareness on this important topic. If you haven’t already done so, check them out:

4 minute video: https://www.soultosolechoreography.org/dance-awareness-2/

Additional resources include an online petition sponsored by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and a longer video about this issue listed under DA:NCE in educational presentations. Note that there are 2 versions of this in-depth video: an R rated version(30 minutes) and a PG version(17:06 minutes). Last, there is a powerpoint and/or slideshare presentation with research and videos that anyone in the country can download and use to make a live presentation in their community on this issue.

R & PG versions of video https://www.soultosolechoreography.org/dance-awareness-ppt-video/

This month I want you to know more about Y.P.A.D. (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance) as well as why I invited you to join it. Y.P.A.D. is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the exploitation of children in dance. Since I met Leslie Scott (founder of Y.P.A.D.), I continue to have great respect for her personal ethics and for the educational tools behind the Y.P.A.D. philosophy: ‘building empowered dance communities through education and activism’. While Soul to Sole Choreography and DA:NCE shine a spotlight on WHAT the problem is in children’s dance, Y.P.A.D. provides the HOW to the problem through membership, practical educational resources(ranging from music, choreography and costumes to dance competitions, judging & safety) as well as accountability. They also provide a safe, loving environment to address any dance concerns that you might have.

For instance, there are member ‘meet ups’. Just a few weeks ago, I signed onto a conference call that discussed dance studio certification. Although there is prepared information chaired by professionals, these calls are designed to have interactive conversations. There is defined time for questions(don’t you get sick of canned talks with no personal involvement from anyone?). I learned a lot. Furthermore, if you miss the ‘meetup’, you can access the link and hear it at a more convenient time. There is also a steady stream of cutting edge information posted on the website(also on facebook, twitter, youtube, and Instagram) from videos to ‘whatever you need to know about.’

Flexible. Approachable. Personal. Heart. What’s not to like?

Besides the research behind the written tools, Y.P.A.D. has gathered a host of experts on their advisory board to explain the ‘why’ of its materials. Just recently, Y.P.A.D. has put language to the term ‘age-appropriate’; it is no longer a vague term. For the first time, Y.P.A.D. has clarified healthy movement standards for music, costumes, dance movement and choreography (p. 20-24 in ‘Tools Not Rules’ that is posted online). This respectful, non-blaming approach combines dance know-how with 21st century child development.

Yearly Memberships vary: $25 per year for students, $50 a year for parents and/or individuals, $75 for Educator/Judges, and $500 for Ambassadorships. Dance Studio Certification fees depend on a number of factors(studio size, etc) although Leslie Scott is quick to reiterate that Y.P.A.D. doesn’t want any dance studio not to be certified because of the cost. A Y.P.A.D. membership also includes a wide array of dance discounts as well as a staff of dance professionals eager to serve Y.P.A.D. constituency. I am honored to work with Y.P.A.D. because our youngest citizens deserve a safe and healthy environment when they are introduced to dance.

If you love children and you love the art of dance, join me. Become a member of Y.P.A.D. today: http://www.ypad4change.org/membership/

“Our power comes from the commitment of many—of studio owners, instructors, parents, and teen and child dancers, all who care about creating positive, empowered, healthy dance environments free from exploitation and filled with community building, life lessons and the nurturing children and teens need to navigate this world as strong, Holistic beings!” – Leslie Scott – Founder Y.P.A.D.