Dance Professional Commitment
My top priority is the physical safety and psychological and emotional health of each dancer. I embrace the honor of being a role model and influencer of young people’s self-esteem. I will participate in the continuing education YPAD offers. I will reach out to the YPAD Network if I have questions or need support, knowing I am not expected to do this alone.
I agree that no trophy, accolade, fame, viral YouTube video, or financial gain is more important than the protection and well being of our youth dancers. I will be self-reflective and mindful of my choices. When I see others making choices that may fall outside of the YPAD standards, I will strive not to judge or shame but use this as an opportunity to share education.
I will use the healthy communication skills put forward by YPAD when engaging with my students, their families, my colleagues and those I work for. I agree to advocate for diversity and inclusiveness and not turn a blind eye if I see potential harm.
I will be an agent for change in the dance industry. I am powerful, I am capable and I am purpose-driven.
Social Media Safety
I will strive to use my social media accounts and conduct myself online with integrity, using YPAD’s Social Media guidelines as the standard for my choices.
I agree that if I choose to post sexually suggestive activity, sexualized dancing, references to drug or alcohol use, violence or gang-related activity, hate speech, negative comments about other dance professionals, or similar content on my social media account, I will not “friend,” “follow,” be “followed” my students.
If I wish to post non-child-friendly content, I will use privacy settings on my primary social media accounts, and create separate accounts through which to connect with my youth students in a role-model capacity.
If a time arises when I need to private message/text a child or teen, I will carefully consider including another adult on the thread, preferably the child’s parent, primary caregiver, or the studio owner.
Dance Concepts, Costumes, Music and Movement
I agree to read and adhere to YPAD’s “Tools Not Rules” Standards, Recommendations & Guidelines and YPAD’s Certification Manual/Workbook when making concept, costume/attire, music and movements choices. My artistic choices will put the emotional, physical and sexual safety of my students first.
I will avoid messages of or references to adult sexuality, explicit or inappropriate language, references to sexual acts, violence, discrimination, abuse, gang activity, drug or alcohol use, or the degradation of others.
I will ask myself what my concept, music and movement choices are saying to my students and to the audience about the value of human beings and human bodies, as well as about themselves and others.
If I choose to highlight a social justice message in my choreography I will first consult with and receive the studio owner’s permission for the message, and I develop a plan on how to thoughtfully move forward. I will adhere to the YPAD guidelines on concepts and make an effort to ensure the dancers and audience members are aware of any potentially triggering material.
I will not mistake dance skills for emotional maturity.
I agree to read the “Judging” section of YPAD’s Standards, Recommendations & Guidelines. I will strive to provide positive feedback on appropriate concepts, costuming, movement and music choices, based on the criteria outlined in the YPAD “Tools Not Rules” Handbook and the Certification Manual/Workbook.
If I do see sexualized or inappropriate choices in a piece, I will strive not to judge or condemn the choices. My feedback and tone will be supportive, as my goal is to educate and inspire these dance professionals to make better choices in the future.
Positive Role Model Choices:
Attire: I agree to dress professionally while in the presence of or working with students. I will not wear sexualized attire (including thigh-highs, see through leggings, bras without a shirt on top), or clothing with messages involving drinking, drugs, violence, smoking, gang influence, etc.
Behavior: I agree not to drink, do drugs, smoke, or engage in public displays of sexuality while in the presence of students. While I am teaching or in the presence of students, I will not be under the influence of marijuana or drugs (unless prescribed by doctor) or alcohol. I will not make references to sex, smoking, drug or alcohol use (or “partying”) unless I do so to raise awareness and educate.
Interactions with Students: I agree that at all times, unless I am chaperoning for my studio, when I am with students, whether while teaching or otherwise, there will always be at least one other adult present. One on one mentoring with parent and studio owner permission is permissible. If I am a guest instructor at a convention, I will not allow students in my hotel room (regardless of the presence of other adults). If I am chaperoning students for my studio, I will be vigilant of the location of my dancers at all times, and I will not allow them to be alone with any other adult at any time, or to be in a hotel room with any of the convention or competition professionals.
Body Image and Food: I agree to the standards set forth in the Certification Manual for healthy ways to speak about my body, the bodies of my students and do my part to cultivate positive relationship with food.
Transparency: I will cooperate with all requests required for a background checked and will disclose any concerns, questions or past history I may have to my potential employer/employer.
Physical Health and Injury
If I become aware a student is experiencing pain, is injured or sick I will adhere to the protocols set forth in the Certification Manual/Workbook.
I will strive to model good self-care to my students and dance families with respect to my health and physical well being.
If a child’s illness or injury creates more work for me, i.e. I have to restage, teach another dancer their part, etc., I will be proactive in letting that child verbally know that their health and healing is worth my time investment.
If I am concerned that a child or teen may be displaying signs of an eating disorder, calling themselves fat, or any other change in their behavior that may be a red flag in the area of food and body image, I will adhere to the protocols set forth in the Certification Manual/Workbook.
Abuse and Bullying
I agree if I observe (or someone reports to me) behavior or evidence of bullying or any sort of abuse, including sexual abuse (which is defined below), I will report it immediately to my studio owner. “Abuse” includes anything that could result in serious physical or emotional harm or exploitation.
I understand that “sexual abuse” means ANY sexual touching between an adult and a child, between children, or when an adult engages in any sexual behavior (looking, showing, or touching) with a child to meet the adult’s interest or sexual needs. This includes making or viewing lewd photos or pornography with children and teens and any text message or contact through social media that may be a sign of the beginning phase of “grooming” behavior.
If I need support to move forward with sharing my concerns or observations, I will reach out to YPAD or another qualified professional for help.
I agree to always put the dancer before the dance.
If you choose to embrace this creed in all your interactions with youth under your influence, you will become a FULLY Certified YPAD Educator, and you will receive an individual Certificate of Completion and you will be included in our database of YPAD Certified Educators.
*YPAD Certification is valid for TWO YEARS from completion. However, at the end of ONE YEAR to keep your Certification valid you will be expected to participate in a two-hour self-driven online education course. The cost is $25 for individual renewal. If you received your certification through your studio and they choose to not renew, you may still be eligible for individual renewal.
*You agree to become CPR Certified within 60 days of completing this Certification and give a copy of your card to your employer.
*You agree to be cooperative and transparent regarding a background check.
*If you do not adhere to any aspect of this agreement, YPAD will offer up to three educational opportunities to help make better choices. If you are unable to correct your choices, YPAD reserves the right to revoke your Certification status, as well as the YPAD Certified status of your studio, depending on the severity of the circumstances and unwillingness for leadership or you to comply.