Young Dancers and Food

I like to start my dance classes off with a terminology game, a little history, or sometimes I just ask a question. Not long ago I asked my students, “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” I heard everything from the power to fly to understand and speaking to animals. But, the one I remember most was from a girl nearly 8 years old. She wanted the the power to eat as much junk food as she wanted without gaining a single pound.


Her response stunned me and I thought immediately… I’ve got to figure out how to teach my students about nutrition! Ironically this months Dance Teacher magazine had an article with some suggestions and ideas about teaching nutrition. However, I struggle with how the information will transfer. It’s one thing to inform my students, but how can I stop their parents from sending them to dance class with a bag fast food or giving their child money for the vending machines? Some of my students are so young and can’t see the effects of what junk and processed food does to their body. In fact, they might not have noticed how it makes them feel aside from their mouth watering at the mention of french fries.

Artwork by Andy Council


So my plan of attack is to start a conversation with my students. I want to know what they perceive as junk food verses healthy food. With that information I’m hoping to figure out how to approach this subject on their terms. I like the idea of a Jeopardy style game, an eat this, not that demonstration, but I think my strongest superpower will be getting them to notice how junk food makes them feel. Stay tuned to learn how my quest to teach nutrition goes! 

P.S. Do you have any suggestions, tips, or tricks? Let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.