I have been a dancer for about 20 years. The teaching methods were quite harsh years ago, when I was first learning to dance. My teachers would humiliate their students into performing the steps right. Little did they know that this type of teaching made many students self-conscious about their abilities and their bodies for years to come. Their teaching did not build self-esteem in their students; in fact, it often did the opposite.

For years, I went through feeling insecure about even the shape of my body. I always wondered if I measured up to the high standards of my strict teachers all those years ago. Finally, I have come into my own. I now realize that my body is just fine even after having two kids. In addition, I focus more on enjoying dancing now that I am no longer auditioning to get into this company or that company.

There are various activities I do to keep my body in shape including eating healthy and Bikram yoga. This helps me to stay healthy mentally and physically. My past experiences with harsh taskmasters of dance have taught me to see what the young students in my class go through as they are learning to perform the various dance moves.

I use encouragement and praise to get my students motivated to work hard instead of criticism and intimidation. This builds self-esteem within the students and does not break down their self-confidence. The right words and tones make a big difference with young people.