How can I help my family save money without quitting dance? Lauren Gates, Ketchikan, AK
Don’t feel bad about not having the money it takes to dance—you’re not the only one! Try these tips to help get back to class:
Ask your teacher or studio owner if they offer scholarships.
Find work around your neighborhood babysitting, washing cars or doing yard work. Save your earnings to help your parents pay tuition.
Hold a fundraiser for yourself and your studio. It can be anything from a candy sale or magazine subscription sale to a car wash. Websites like fundraising.com can help you decide what type of event to try. Gather information and present it to your teacher. She’ll appreciate it, too.
Most importantly, keep your grades up and listen to your parents. It will make it easier for them to want to help you follow your dream.
Robin Dawn owns Robin Dawn Academy of Performing Arts in Cape Coral, FL.
Talk to your studio owner. At Dance Attitudes, we run a program where students who can’t afford certain classes help clean and care for the studio. Then the money they earn goes toward their class tuition.
We also do a spring and fall cleanup where we scrub every inch of the studio. All students who help get credited. It may seem like your director has everything under control, but we always need help, so don’t hesitate to ask!
Paige Sayegh is co-owner of Dance Attitudes in Marlboro, NJ.
Ask your teachers about assisting their classes. Perhaps for every three classes you assist, you can get one class free.
Find someone to sponsor you. Since this is a tax write-off, a local business may be willing to donate money to help out with your tuition or costume fees.
If your studio does fundraising, go out into your neighborhood and approach people with the products you’re selling, whether it’s candy bars or cookie dough. Not everyone likes to donate, but most people are willing to help if they see that it’s going toward something positive like dance.
Most importantly, be honest with your teachers and let them know where you stand. It’s only possible for them to help if they’re aware of a situation. Teachers don’t want to see students quit because of financial problems, so chances are they’ll want to work with you in every way!
Jamie Cordon is owner of Jamie’s Dance Force in Boardman, OH.
How can I stay in shape and continue dancing while I’m injured? Jillian Elbaum, Calabasas, CA
Let the injured area rest so it can heal quickly and fully, and follow your doctor’s advice! He’ll know when it’s safe to return to dance class and which of the following exercises might help you along. That said, there are many things you can do to stay in shape while you’re recuperating. Here are a few:
Start with stamina. If you have access to a gym, you may be able to use a stationary bike, walk on the treadmill or swim (depending on the injured area). If you can’t get to a gym, and you’re able to bear weight safely, walk briskly outside. Work hard enough to feel slightly out of breath.
Now strength. Many of the same muscles you use during class—like the abdominals, hip/turnout muscles and foot muscles—can be toned with resistance exercises using weights or stretch bands. Pilates or floor barre classes also work well. And keep up with your stretching.
Next is technique. Being off with an injury gives you time to focus on specific aspects of your technique. Break down difficult movements into components you can safely perform with your injury—perhaps laying on the floor or even standing in a pool. You may find you go back to class with a better awareness of certain movements!
Lastly, eat well. Even if you’re not exercising as much as usual, your body needs protein and essential nutrients in order to heal. And when you finally do go back to class, start slowly by participating in just the barre or warm-up and then gradually increase your activity.
Joanne Smith is a physical therapist at Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC.