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Book Release: The Dance Parent's Survival Guide

By Rebecca Martin.

Price: AUD $27.23
Authors Julia Monaghan and Kate Wilson

Choosing dance styles, tuition, costumes and more…

Written with the needs of dance parents in mind, The Dance Parent’s Survival Guide provides up-to-date information and practical advice on all things dance related, from comparing dance styles and schools, to applying stage make-up. The guide contains numerous tips on a variety of subjects, including preparing for dance competitions, dealing with common dance injuries, and selecting and caring for shoes and dance wear, along with detailed instructions on essential skills such as sewing and tying ballet shoe ribbons and making a bun.

Whether your child does ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, national or acrobatics, this well organised, comprehensive book is for you.

Julia Monaghan is a working mother with two girls who are both aspiring dancers. She has been a lecturer in nursing and midwifery at James Cook University and the University of Tasmania, but currently works as an educational consultant for professional nursing and midwifery organisations. Julia has been a dance parent for over 12 years, throughout which she has juggled the demands of work and supporting her daughters’ dancing. Her experiences and the knowledge she gained going from novice to veteran dance parent inspired her to write this book.

Kate Wilson has been involved in teaching dance for over ten years. Prior to a career in teaching, Kate took lessons in classical ballet, tap, jazz, national/character and highland dance. Kate received a diploma in Performing Arts, majoring in Classical Ballet at Dance World 301 in Melbourne and has also studied at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Rebecca Martin spoke with Kate in the lead up to the book’s release.

What was the inspiration for the book?
I was invited to co-write this book with one of my ex-ballet mums, Julia Monaghan, who even as an experienced ballet mum had so many unanswered questions.  The book came about because there are so many things for new and existing dance parents to know and it can become quite daunting.  Every year when older students stop dancing or begin their professional careers, a wealth of information is lost and not passed on to new dance students and their parents.  Also, Julia found that in most cases, the dance teacher is always too busy teaching the dance class to give any information to the parents.  Hence The Dance Parent’s Survival Guide.

Where did the book’s research come from?
Julia made a list of everything she would want to know as a beginner dance parent – how to find a good school, where to find dancewear and how to care for it, how to help her child practicse, how to sew ribbons on ballet shoes, how to style hair, etc.  We conducted a lot of research by asking other parents at ballet schools what they needed and wanted to know when their child began dance classes.  We also used Julia’s daughters and her husband as guinea pigs when it came to testing the descriptions in the book.  We also contacted a lot of dance schools and viewed many websites and dance books.

It is traditionally the mother who takes children to dance classes. Is the book directed at both mothers and fathers?
The book is absolutely for fathers as well as mothers!  When I was a dance student, it was my dad who assisted in making head pieces for costumes, props (as well as carrying them around back stage!) and he could even put my hair in a bun better than my mum could!  I think that fathers have just as much, if not more enjoyment from the dance classes that their child participates in.

Does the book cover information for boys as well as girls?
Boys are mentioned in this book from the very beginning.  It was the males who began most dance styles which are studied today by children – ballet, tap, jazz, etc.  We have included a section on boy’s dancewear, boy’s costuming and how to help the parent and the male dance student cope with any potential teasing or taunting they may be subjected to because they study dance.

With the constant evolution of dance and dance styles, will the book be updated in keeping with trend changes and product designs?
It has taken the best part of five years to complete the book as there have been so many improvements in all facets of dance during this time – dance tv shows, new schools and companies, the science of dancewear to enhance and improve performance.  As these are constantly changing and improving, Julia and I will be changing and improving our book to keep up with the times.

Will dance students find the book useful?
Absolutely, especially those who are at an age where they are starting to take more responsibility for their belongings and dance classes – how to sew ribbons on shoes, how apply stage make up, what to pack for a performance, caring for their own shoes and dancewear, and also how to help with the younger or less experienced students.

The Dance Parent’s Survival Guide can be ordered from www.danceparentsguide.com.au
Very soon it will also be available from Sansha Australia.
17 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, Victoria 3185
Phone: 03 9528 6066
info@sansha.com.au www.sansha.com.au

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