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NDEO invites all individual participants and chapters of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA) to join us in celebrating "Love Your Body Week" - a week dedicated to creating body-positive dance environments. Please carefully follow all guidelines provided on this page as you plan for your dance program's celebration.
• Meet dancers where they are. For some, loving their body might feel like an impossible task. One solution can be to identify things they like about themselves as a person. Appreciating personal strengths goes along with body positivity.
• Acknowledge that talking about “loving your body” or giving and receiving compliments might be difficult. Encourage dancers to think about “trying on” loving their body and what it would look like/feel like.
• Name the discomfort. For example, if students are struggling to get a conversation going or complete a task, acknowledge that talking about body positivity can be challenging. We often say: “This is a hard thing to talk about… Why do you think that is?” We’ve seen dancers really open up about societal pressures when asked this question. Our bodies are something that dancers often think about, but don’t spend a lot of time talking about in a supportive environment.
• One thing that comes up every year in the compliment circle activity is that teens don’t want to feel like they are “bragging.” We challenge teens on this, and ask: “What would it look like to live in a world where we could own our strengths?”. We often follow with “Recognizing our strengths does not have to diminish others. Owning our strengths can encourage others to do the same for themselves.”
• Acknowledge that body positivity is a journey. Honor where students are on that journey today.
• Remember that it is normal for some students to look disengaged, or to have dramatic signs of boredom (lying down, eye rolling, talking, etc.); this is often another expression of discomfort rather than actual boredom. Expect some of this behavior, and do not take it personally.
• Over the years, we’ve found that a small number of students cannot tolerate doing a LYBW activity. We always encourage these dancers to simply observe if they feel like they cannot participate, and follow up with their parents afterward to share what we observed.
• Be prepared to feel challenged. Some activities and discussions may be triggering for you as well. You may need extra emotional support and self care during LYBW.