StEPS | Welcome to Season 3

StEPS | Welcome to Season 3

Beyond the StEPS

Season 3; Episode 1

Welcome to Season 3 of Beyond the StEPS!

Beyond the Steps is a conversation-style series that focuses on important topics related to dance, such as gender and equity, sex abuse prevention, psychology, mental health, dance medicine and science. The series is hosted by Bri Zabrowski and Melissa McDaniel who is the founder of Turning Point Dance Creations, both are experienced dancers and professionals in the dance industry. They bring on expert guests to discuss one topic per episode, with the goal of educating the audience and promoting positive change in the dance community. 

Here are just a few amazing things that Beyond the StEPS will be featuring this season!

Christina Michaels, the founder of Queer Dance Project, is returning to Beyond the Steps as a guest expert. They previously shared valuable information about building affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ individuals in the dance community. In this episode, they will further discuss discrimination faced by studio owners who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Bri and Melissa are excited to have Christina back and to continue the important conversation on this topic.

Kelsey Nelson, is a popular dance educator who has a strong following on Instagram. Kelsey's dancers are known for their exceptional foundational technique and willingness to take risks and learn new things. Kelsey was a guest on Beyond the Steps last season, where she discussed motivation and how to cultivate a growth mindset in teenagers. Bri and Melissa are excited to have Kelsey back on the show to discuss how to motivate dancers and provide them with the foundational training they need to succeed in college and high school dance programs.

MBOA; We have attended the Marching Band of America Grand Nationals in Indianapolis, and it has opened our eyes to a whole new world, so we are excited to be jumping into this as well as branching out into the world of Drum Corps International. 

Olivia Lynch, is the co-founder of the Black Baton Twirlers Network. She will be speaking with us about the challenges faced by twirlers of color and how we can work together to overcome them. This is a great opportunity for us to expand our network and connect with different communities and individuals related to the dance world.

Aisha Upchurch; She'll be talking about the history, contributions, and representation of black culture in dance. She's an expert in this field and it will be an informative and insightful series that you don't want to miss.

Competition fees & registration; Something that has been a large topic lately and is personally bugging us right now, looking at competitions for the spring and wondering what we're going to do nationals-wise. If we're gonna do Nationals how is this going to work, and we are finding that competitions are sold out in October for regional competitions, regionals that are happening in April, May, March! The issue of high upfront costs for entry fees for dance competitions is a common problem faced by small dance studios and marginalized communities who may not have access to the capital required. This requirement for pre-registration with a significant deposit is creating a situation where only the "haves" have access to the competitive space, which is contrary to the values of inclusiveness and equality. This issue has become increasingly prevalent in recent years and is making it harder for dance studios to provide their students with a quality competitive experience. It is suggested that the organizers of these competitions consider alternative solutions to make the competition accessible to all, such as back loading the entry fees, compromising on the deposit amount, or providing financial assistance to marginalized communities.

The issue of using mature music for young dancers. The well-being and protection of young dancers is of utmost importance, and it's essential to have a vigilant and proactive approach to ensure that they are not exposed to inappropriate or harmful material. The hyper-sexualization of dance is a real issue and can have negative impacts on the self-esteem and self-worth of young dancers. It's crucial to have guidelines in place that regulate the music selection for dance performances to be age-appropriate and safe for all participants. Inviting experts on this topic to provide their knowledge and insights will be beneficial in addressing this issue, and video evidence can help support the need for change. The goal should be to create a positive, safe, and empowering environment for young dancers to pursue their passion and develop their skills.

The issue of safe and appropriate dressing spaces for dancers is another thing we will be discussing, it is so important and should be addressed. The provision of safe and appropriate dressing spaces is a crucial aspect of creating a positive and supportive environment for dancers. Providing inclusive and accessible spaces for all genders is important in promoting inclusivity and respect for diversity in the dance community. Overcrowding and lack of privacy can also be a concern, and measures such as proper dividing curtains and adequate space should be taken to address this. Publicly accessible dressing spaces can also pose a security risk, and it's essential to consider this when planning events and to take necessary measures to ensure the safety and privacy of all dancers. The goal should be to create a safe and inclusive environment that enables all dancers to pursue their passion and develop their skills without fear of harm or exploitation.

It is crucial to have these conversations about safety and protection in dance and other athletics in light of the growing issues of sexual abuse. Addressing these topics head-on will help create a safer environment for dancers and athletes, and promote a culture of respect and safety. Beyond the Step is taking a proactive approach by covering these important topics in its upcoming season. 

This season, we are also focusing on professional development for educators, coaches and trainers who are working with children. Every once in a while we want to dive even deeper and have more in-depth discussions. That's why we've created a quarterly guest series, where we'll invite back one guest per quarter for three months to go into more detail on a particular topic. Our first guest for this series will be Jan Done from the Bridge Dance Project, and we'll be focusing on dance medicine and science and how it applies to performance athletes. We're excited to have Jan back multiple times over the next few months and can't wait for you to hear the insights she'll bring. Additionally, for all the educators, coaches, and trainers out there, we understand the importance of professional development and will continue to provide resources and support in that area as well. We encourage you to use these episodes as training materials and share with your staff. Don't forget to implement what you learn to make the most of this new performance season.

This season we will also be discussing inter-parental conflict in the context of dance studios and dance education is a relevant topic for this season. It's important to address and find ways to manage conflicts in a safe and productive manner that models good behavior for students. A psychologist may be a helpful guest to have on to discuss how to defuse conflicts and move them to a safe structured space. The bottom line is that everyone wants what's best for the kids and sometimes it takes time and space to become clear.

We could also consider having a discussion on the costume guidelines for children and ensuring that it is appropriate for their age and body type, while also considering the comfort and modesty of the child. This can be a delicate topic but having open communication and considering all perspectives can help find a solution that works for everyone.

We will also be diving into enrollment management and finding the right balance of attracting new students while retaining current ones can be challenging for any Studio owner, especially for those who are just starting out. It requires understanding the needs and preferences of both the parents and students, and finding ways to meet those needs while still maintaining the vision and goals of the Studio. This is definitely a topic worth exploring, and it would be interesting to hear from experienced Studio owners and professionals who have faced similar challenges and found successful solutions.

Body inclusivity and positivity in the dance industry is an important topic to discuss, and having a professional dancer like Megan Bowen bring their expertise and perspective to the conversation will be valuable.

Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being and it's great that you are putting a spotlight on it. It will be interesting to hear from experts like Dan's son, Kristen Dice, Michelle Lucadu, Ashley Mowry, Lauren Richie, and others on how they approach promoting mental health and incorporating it into daily life.

Balancing rest and performance. It is a common challenge for many people, especially in high-pressure industries like dance. We want to  find a healthy balance for ourselves. Balancing the drive to push yourself with the importance of rest and self-care is a complex issue. It will be interesting to hear your perspective as a "pusher" and explore the topic of finding a healthy balance between pushing and rest. This is a topic that many people can relate to and I'm sure you all will be interested in hearing your thoughts and tips on finding balance.  Looking forward to this conversation!

Beyond the Steps is expanding its presence on multiple platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and potentially TikTok in the future. This will allow for a wider reach and the ability for people to consume the content in a variety of ways, such as during their morning routines. The addition of the full catalog of episodes on YouTube will be convenient for viewers to access and share. The continued live format of the show is also a positive, as it allows for real-time engagement and interaction with guest experts. I hope viewers will actively participate and contribute their thoughts and questions in the comments to continue the important conversations on the show.

We are excited to share that we will also be releasing Beyond the StEPS as a podcast, wherever you listen to your podcasts!


Thanks for reading all about Season 3, Beyond the StEPS!

Watch Season 3; Episode 1 Below!

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