Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to Get a Haircut Without Really Crying: The Quiz

My hair was boring me, and I started thinking about cutting off my locs.  I wanted not only to look different, but to feel different, and I hoped a change in my hair-do would be a new beginning. 

I told a good friend of mine, Gina over at FullofIt, about my plans and my apprehension.  No stranger to what I was about to undergo, she counseled, "Have beverages on hand."  I knew she didn't mean apple juice.  

I sat down in the chair.  Snip, snip, snip.  I had a Jackson 5 circa 1974 'fro under my locs.  Why did I now look like a short Morgan Freeman in drag?  

I stared at my reflection in disbelief.  Who was this woman and what had happened to her hair?!!!  Could I gather up what was on the floor and glue it back on?  I still had half the day before I had to pick up the kids.  Maybe I could get a rush job on some BeyoncĂ©- esque extensions?

The stylist put on a little color, and it helped.  A little.  What had I done? I took a few selfies and texted them to some friends and the Hubs.  All loved it.  (Actually, my husband is still adjusting.)  I face timed my bestie in NYC and cried.  She reassured me that I looked great, saying, "You know I'd tell you if I didn't."

And I knew she would have. 

After I calmed down, and put on some make-up, I felt better about it.  I ventured over to work to see a student showing of some choreography. My hair, in addition to the piece, received rave reviews. Days later, especially when I woke up, I still freaked at my reflection.  Even though my new look was growing on me, pun fully intended, I have begun stalking the natural hair Pinterest boards, eagerly awaiting some bigger hair.   

It has not been an easy transition, but I'm getting there with humor.  In the spirit of laughter being the best medicine, here's a quiz to poke fun at all the drama surrounding my big chop.  

1.  As your hair was being cut, you ________________ .

  1. felt as though a new person was coming out of your body, like when that alien came out of Sigourney Weaver, but hot.
  2. felt nervous but excited.
  3. were tempted to bolt, leaving your head half Milli Vanilli/half pixie.    

2.  You are sure that your husband will __________________________ .

  1. get all bom chicka-wow-wow with you in seconds.
  2. say, “Hey, mister, whatcha got planned for dinner?”
  3. under cover of night drive you to a remote location and then speed off.

3.   As soon as your hair was done you planned to _____________________ .

  1. buy some fierce new make up and earrings. 
  2. send a photo of your new ‘do to your bestie and get some honest feedback.
  3. get a bottle of vodka and a wig.

4.   You wanted the haircut because ________________________________ .

  1. you wanted to look “single and ready to mingle,” instead of like Ponytail Jane.  
  2. you hate the idea that only long hair is feminine.
  3. it was all part of your Kojak obsession.   

5.   Now that you have short hair you feel like ______________________ .

  1. Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball.
  2. Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables.
  3. Pat from SNL.

6. Your mother is probably going to ___________ . 

  1. suggest you send photos to that idiot in college who dumped you to show him what he’s missing.
  2. give you a quizzical look and a sarcastic comment.
  3. stage a mock burial of her daughter. 

7.   As for your FB profile photo, it  _________________________ .

  1. was updated STAT. My stylist snapped a fierce pic of me, and I slapped that shizz up immediately.
  2. will be updated as soon as I get the best possible photo.
  3. will be updated with this hair when Al and Ann (as in Sharpton and Coulter) have a love child.

8.   You’ll handle your kids’ reaction by telling them,  _________________ .

  1. “Why, no, Mommy is not a glamorous moviestar!”
  2. “That hair always grows back.”
  3. “Of course Mommy still has a vagina.”

9.   On the street you’ve noticed ______________ .

  1. that men, women, kids, dogs, even squirrels wanna get wit' chu. 
  2. a few curious glances, but no major difference from passers-by. 
  3. people handing you spare change and the remains of their sandwich.

10.   When you see someone with long hair, you feel ____________ .

  1. totally sexier than they are.
  2. nostalgic.
  3. regretful and queasy – like someone who just ate from a roadside sashimi stand. 

What was the last major change you made to your hair?  What did you think?  What did "they"? 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mom in the Spotlight: Writer, Stephanie Giese

Stephanie Giese is a wife and mom of three who spends her days sticking out like a sore thumb in Amish country. Her work can be seen on her blog, Binkies and Briefcases, or Stephanie is a contributing writer for Smart Magazine and has been featured on In The Powder Room and My Life And Kids. She is one of the co-authors of the new humor anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone and is scheduled to release her first children’s book next year.    

How old are your children? Boys? Girls?  
I have three kids. My oldest is a boy. He’s 6. The younger two are girls, ages 4 and 1 and a half.

B.C. (before children) what was your career?  Have you picked up where you left off, or chosen a new path? 
I was an elementary school teacher and gifted specialist in my BC life. I would love to get back into the classroom one day, but right now it is next to impossible to find teaching jobs in Central, Pennsylvania. I’m very blessed to be able to stay home to focus on my kids and my writing. This year has really taken off for me. I have started writing for a local magazine, been featured as a co-author of the new humor anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone (you know something about that, right Keesha ;) and signed a contract for my first children’s book.

What continues to surprise you about motherhood -- in relation to yourself or among moms in general?  
I am constantly surprised by the ability we all have to roll with the punches, laugh, and get back up and try again. Any other job that combined nursing, teaching, food service, and customer relations would have a pretty high turn-over rate, I imagine, but we just plow through and eventually come out the other side having raised adults. (or so I’m told.)

When did you start blogging? And of course, you've gotta tell us why!
I started my blog, Binkies and Briefcases, in 2010 as a New Year’s Resolution to “be a better blogger.” We had a small family blog before that, but we were absolutely horrible about keeping it updated and friends and family kept asking for more current information. I found that I really liked having my own online space and the community that came along with being a “mom blogger.”

What is at the end of your blogging rainbow?  What are your goals as a writer?  
I have visions of starting an online conservative humor magazine, but I know myself well enough to know that I just don’t possess enough technical ability right now to make that happen. This year I am starting to go to blog conferences for the first time. (Bloggy Boot Camp in NC and Haven) I’m hoping to network with other bloggers and maybe a few brands and expand my reach.

My goal as a writer in the past had always been to just be a writer. I didn’t really have a clear idea what that meant, but now that I am beginning to start to see my pieces in print and get paid for them, I think I am there. Of course my three ultimate goals as a writer would be:
1.    See a book on the NYT Best-Sellers list
2.    Write a screenplay that becomes a blockbuster (or have one adapted from one of my books)
3.    Be interviewed by Oprah

Your best "Dear God, why me?" mommy story?
My son is quite a pistol, so there are MANY. One that comes to mind at the moment happened when my he was about four. I was in the other room tending to his sister and also very pregnant. He said he was going to the potty, but while he was in the bathroom he decided to “help” me clean by squeezing FOUR (yes  f-o-u-r) tubes of toothpaste onto my hairbrush and scrubbing it all over the room. The very next day he dumped an entire bottle of bubble bath into the toilet, clogged it, and flooded the bathroom, the hallway, and the bedroom next door with bubbly toilet water. It was like a scene from a 90’s family sitcom, but it’s not nearly as funny while it is actually happening. 

What are your guilty pleasures these days?
My husband and I watch entirely too much TV after we put the kids to bed. Our favorite shows right now are The Following, New Girl, and Duck Dynasty. 

If the universe said, "You can experience this one thing for one whole day," what would you choose?
Sleep. I know that’s boring, but I’m pretty sure anyone with young kids would have the same answer.

Your advice to bloggers, both newbie and seasoned?  

Network. A lot of people ask me specifically how to do this. I recommend joining networks like The SITS Girls and trying to go to conferences if you can. If that is too overwhelming, try forming a Facebook group of local bloggers from your area. When you can meet people in person it goes a long way!

Also, make sure that your blog has its own social media pages. It drives me a little bananas when I want to follow a blog and the only option I have to do so is to subscribe to a feed.

The last piece of advice is more for myself, because I still don’t understand it at all: Learn how to use Google +.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm Guesting at Motherhood, WTF!

Hi Everyone!

Happy Monday!  

If you are a Mom's New Stage regular, I can't thank you enough for your continued support.  I know time is precious, and I am honored you choose to spend some of yours with me.  I am doing my 90s hip-hop happy dance (cabbage patch, anyone?) because today's post on "Actually Useful Apps" appears on the fabulous blog Motherhood WTF? !  If you haven't read anything on this site, then you need to, STAT.  I can't thank her enough for featuring me!  Motherhood, WTF? is uber smart, irreverent and hysterically funny.  And as you can tell from the title, she is honest and real.  When I read her posts, I think, "That's exactly what I'd say!" (If, of course, my mouth and brain weren't working against each other.)

Now, if you came here because you read my post on Motherhood, WTF? and decided to explore my little corner of the Interwebs, welcome, welcome, a thousand times welcome!  I am a former dancer,  now a dance teacher and the mother of an almost 3 year old and an almost 4.5 year old. They are 18 months apart, which means I am so tired and downright dumb I can't find my butt with both hands.  It means every day includes seconds of transcendent joy as well as several lost items, a one meal no one will eat, and bedtimes that would make Mary Poppins herself drink, swear and fight as though she were starring in the Quentin Tarantino remake of her story.  

Please look around and enjoy!  Some of my favorite posts are 10 Things About Me that Suck for my Partner,  The Mother's Promise and Momsanity.  And to answer the perennial question "How does she do it?" there are also some fun, yet insightful interviews with dancers, photographers and some of your favorite bloggers.  

Oh, yeah, this might be a good time to mention my other visitors... The folks who came to this page looking for "naked moms," or because they googled "I s--t without clothes."  Or perhaps they linked on over from a site with so many up close and personal vaginas it looks like viewers are supposed to perform online pap smears.  I know you've probably already figured this out, Pervy McPervypants, but you in the wrong place.  YOU IS NASTY!  So nasty you don't even deserve proper grammar.  Take your filthy self someplace else for that kind of mess.

For everyone else, I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Signing off with great love in my heart for the fierce city of BOSTON,
with prayers for peace, and a sincere hope that the remainder of April has met with a talented psychiatrist and taken its meds.

(And by the way that's Keesha, with a long "e" as in cheese, not a short one as in flesh.  When people call me Ke$ha I want to take my ears off and soak them in Lysol.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mom in the Spotlight: weeSpring Co-Founder, Mompreneur, Melissa Post

Melissa Post is one of the co-founders (and Community Manager) of weeSpring, a platform for new and expecting parents to share trusted advice with their friends on baby products. A former consultant at Monitor Group and a digital marketing guru for AmEx, Melissa has always loved connecting people and understanding what motivates them. With the arrival of twin girls last summer, her desire to help new and expecting parents network and share with one another has piqued her interest double-time. Melissa received her MBA from NYU Stern and is a graduate of Dartmouth College.  

How old are your children?
My twin girls just had their 9 month birthday (they’ll be 1 in July). Despite the many sleepless nights, I feel like they were just born!

What do you hope women can take away from your site?
I hope women  (and Dads too!) can use weeSpring to share recommendations with their friends on baby gear.  When searching for advice early on (and since), we found that almost all of our questions (how do you bathe a newborn, what do I do when my baby is sick, how do I get my daughter to sleep through the night)  are answered with products (The Fisher Price Whale of a Tub, the NoseFrieda aspirator, the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD).

With weeSpring, I hope new parents can share what they love (and regret) to help others navigate the incredibly overwhelming process of figuring out what you need for your baby- both before they are born, and once they arrive. Ultimately, I hope expecting and new parents come to see weeSpring as THE go-to resource for trusted advice.

Tell us about the name of your company. 
weeSpring was truly the result of a collaborative exercise trying to combine two words we thought represented what we wanted to convey. “wee” connotes baby, but also feels warm and inviting, and “spring” gets at the idea of growth (we want to grow with parents and their children), sharing, and a network. We want to be the trusted source of advice for all things baby.

How do you find balance?  
It’s not easy. Our mantra at weeSpring is “it’s about quality, not quantity.” When you become a mom, efficiency takes on a whole new meaning (as does multi-tasking). It is not uncommon that I am watching my girls jump in their bouncers while sending an email from the elliptical.

What is your best time of the day?  Your most challenging?  
The best time of day unfailingly is 7:40 a.m. when I walk into my girls’ room to get them and I see the biggest smile on both their faces. It makes everything else seem unimportant. The most challenging is when I have to say goodbye to head to work, knowing I can’t be part of it all, but knowing that having balance, and doing something I am passionate about (outside of being a mom) will undoubtedly make me a better mom every moment I’m with them.

What is your best "this is not happening to me" mommy story?  
We have a double stroller (as most twin moms do), and brought it with us to the airport when my husband and I were flying down to Florida for a week in November. We had made it all the way through security with few tears, the stroller, both car seats (attached onto the stroller of course), between 8 and 10 carry ons of breast feeding equipment, milk for the plane, toys for the plane, magazines for the plane (did I really think I was going to read?), and who knows what else. All was going so well.

After a 45 minute delay, which already had everyone (including my girls) on edge, they then announce in the PACKED terminal that they will begin boarding people with infants. So, we hurry to board the jetway, each holding one girl in our arms because the stroller wasn’t cutting it, and barely able to hold all of the bags and push the stroller at the same time. There are hundreds of people behind us eager to board, and the stroller (marketed as THE double stroller that fits through almost all regular doorways) won’t fit through the doorway. What ensues is a good 10 minutes of trying to take apart the double stroller that, of course, does not want to fold at this given point in time while two babies are screaming, 200 people want to board behind us, and at least 4 Jetblue attendants are trying to help us carry the stroller parts, the two carseats, our two Baby Bjorns, and the 8-10 bags as we carry the girls through. 

I have never sweated so much or been happier when the bottles made it into our screaming girls' mouths than I was that day.

What do you wish someone had told you when you became a mom?
There is actually one thing someone told me before becoming a mom that I think every mom out there should know. There will never be a day you don’t worry about your child. When you are pregnant, you worry about your child being healthy. When your child is born, you worry about them eating enough. When your child is 6 months, you worry about when they’ll start to crawl...and then walk. Eventually you will worry about whether they are making friends, fitting in, thriving academically, succeeding in sports or art (or whatever their passion becomes), driving safely, getting into the college they have their heart set on. So, just know the worrying starts the moment you find out you’re becoming a mom, and never ends. But so does the love you feel for that little person you are bringing into the world. And thank goodness that never goes away.

A mother who has been there/done that whose brain you want to pick?  
If I could have dinner (and drinks) with one person right now (other than my own mom who is the source of all of my best advice!), it would likely be Lynn Perkins, founder and CEO of UrbanSitter, a terrific platform for sharing and finding babysitters. 

Lynn is the mom of twin boys, just had her third, and successfully started UrbanSitter in the midst of it all. Miraculously, she still finds time for her family, and seems to make it all work. Having spent a short amount of time with Lynn, I believe she has a lot to teach any new moms out there trying to find balance, while pursuing something they are really passionate about.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Internet Marketing & SEO for Mom Blogs

Hello, my name is Philip Rudy. I work as a Digital Consultant at Traffic Digital Agency, as well as for some of our clients 1800LAWFIRM, Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe, 8004BLINDS, and many more. Since Mom blogs are a huge niche on the Internet, the space can be very competitive, and though what usually wins a large audience is great content that people come back to time and time again, the extra edge of leveraging that content is called search engine optimization (SEO) - and that is what I am here to talk to you about today.

First off - What is search engine optimization?
Simply put, search engine optimization is the attempt to increase your rankings through optimization of the 200+ signals that Google looks at when calibrating a website and determining it's overall rank in their organic search results. There is off-site and on-site SEO.

Ethics & SEO
Everyone has their own opinion on SEO ethics. A lot of it has to do with intent, but basically everyone makes up their own mind. Why is this issue in the SEO space? Because a lot of what SEO is can be considered "gaming" the search engines, or manipulating the algorithm in the favor of your website - most of the time this is done through link building. But keyword stuffing, content scraping, and duplicate content copyright infringing are all issues when it comes SEO and ethics. As of right now, there is no "webspam" tactics used by SEO experts that are illegal. Everything in the SEO space (aside from hacking, which unfortunately happens sometimes) is considered legal and fair game. Right now it’s pretty much up to society what is considered ethical, and up to Google to consider if what you are doing is fair game or not.
I could go on for days....
But let's get to the tactics....

Onsite Page & Content Optimization
Really there is no better SEO plan than to have your content come from the heart, and learn to gain a following without having to rely on Google, but if you are trying to optimize for certain keywords (I always recommend doing the optimization throughout the process while maintaining quality and overall content value) there really is a quite simple formula for onsite keywords. Your most important onsite factors usually go something like this...

1. Overall URL. In the mom space, this is usually the least optimized factor. Exact match domains (EMDs), Partial match domains (PMDs), and domain names under 16 characters are usually what work best. Need some proof? Do a few Google searches on random keywords and see how many times the domain name is the exact keyword.

Sequencing Keyword Phrases and how it relates to your URLs:
Optimizing your URLs and how you set them up for each page is completely up to you. Remember that you should not always think about SEO when it comes to optimizing your site but you should keep a healthy balance between optimizing for the user (what I like to call search experience optimization) and optimizing for the robots (traditional SEO).       
Example: Does your page content express views that are very relevant and attached to the release date of the article? In WordPress, there is a format option to have your date in the URL of the article. This can be very useful to people looking for specific time frames when doing their searches, but it is necessarily the best way to optimize your URLs.
So what is the best way to optimize your URLs? Here are a few rules:                 
o      The shorter the better
o      Use your main keyword once
o      Don't repeat keywords
o      Use underscores for exact sequencing (example: Google a few book titles - notice that a majority of them have underscores in the URL)
o      Use hyphens when your targeted keywords usually can come in a variety of sequencing
2. Overall Page Structure. Your title tags, meta description, header tags, and keyword density all play their role when it comes to onsite optimization. Keyword density usually plays a role in simply not over doing it. Don't hit your targeted keyword in your content too many times (Keep it under 5%) otherwise Google might see your over-mentioning as a sign of spam (otherwise known as keyword stuffing). Out of these four, your title tag is pretty much the most important thing. That said, if you look in the HTML, your overall page structure should look something like this....

3. Link Building. Link building is the trickiest of all of the ways to optimize a site and it is also the most controversial. Some SEO experts place way too much emphasis on link building and its value in the SEO world. (Read: Why Are You So Hard On Link Builders) However it is undeniable that links are one of the biggest factors in your websites position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
There are many important aspects of link building that you have to take into consideration, each of which ultimately deserve its own article, but the idea is to have as many links pointing to your site from other sites as possible.
Ways to build links:
o      submit to directories
o      local outlets (like
o      press releases (Using a service like PRweb)
o      guest blogging
o      mention outreach (did someone mention you without linking?)
o      citation building (like yelp)
o      reciprocal linking
o      infographics
o      contests & giveaways
o      trending and evergreen content
o      widget building (like this widget from Zillow)
o      paying for links (against Google's policies)
There really is no better list of complete link building strategies than from link building master Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO. Here is the guideline, and if you notice, it follows the coding techniques in terms of onsite page optimization to a 'T.'

There are so many other best practices about SEO that you can build hold websites around the topic. Or without further ado, here are some SEO resources and tools for those who may not be familiar with the practice:

·       SEOmoz Beginners Guide
·       SEOBook (awesome blog)
Once you learn about SEO, you begin to see the Internet in a whole other light…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lies, Scary Mommy and a Giveaway!

Jill Smoker (a.k.a. Scary Mommy) has a fabulous new book out: Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies), and it got me to thinking...What was my biggest misconception about motherhood?

It was definitely discipline, which I was certain would be a breeze for me.  As a no-nonsense dance teacher, surely I'd have no problem keeping my own children in line.  Mothers who let their children get the best of them were overindulgent pushovers, so concerned with being liked by their children that they were just asking for a kid who was lazy and obnoxioius, if not rocking a government-issue orange jumpsuit someday.

I would use nonverbal cues and carefully chosen, yet firm words.  I would impose time outs and other appropriate consequences-- things that respected my own dignity as a parent, as well as my children's need to be understood and navigate clearly delineated boundaries.

Unfortunately once my kids were old enough to commit ACTS -- naughty or dangerous or otherwise unacceptable ACTS -- of their own free will, I realized I had been looking at things through rose colored wine glasses.

Discipline is fricking difficult, and it does not come naturally.  

All moms have a look, right?  The look that means not only stop doing what you're doing, but stop thinking what you're thinking.  Apparently my look made me look  hilarious, like Grimace wearing a Farrah Fawcett wig.  Even at 18 months of age, my kids giggled mockingly at my stern warning face and resumed their mischief making.  Time outs, and all the resultant chasing and hauling the kicking and screaming offender back to his room resulted in my getting the equivalent of 45 minutes on a treadmill set at incline = Himalayas.  And my calmly reasoned words morphed from measured calm to sarcasm, then from desperate threats (that had little chance of being enforced) to prison-riot style shouting.  

Somehow I thought that good moms had discipline in their bones.  Maybe they'd gotten an injection for it with the epidural.  Or maybe in the 70s and 80s we kids just feared our parents more.  My mom's "look" was an automatic cease and desist signal, unlike my hilarious expression that made my toddlers think, "Bitch, you must be joking."  Where I got the idea that discipline was easy, I'll never know, and I wish someone had smacked that idea right out of my head at regular intervals beginning with my 8-week ultrasound. 

For another vicious lie, head over to Anna’s awesome blog, Random Handprints, where THEY told her putting a baby and a toddler to sleep in the same room was a cinch. I'll side with Anna -- that's one of the greatest myths in motherhood ever.  

Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies) is a must read in the Mommy canon, and you have to get yourself a copy! It is therapy, like a conversation with a witty and wise friend. You definitely want to be the first mom at the playground/at soccer practice/at the dance studio waiting room to be reading this book.

So, because, as we all know, motherhood is about winning, Anna, the rockstar blogger at Random Handprints, and I are giving you the opportunity to win one of two copies of Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies). 

To enter, let us know in the Rafflecopter form below what was the most vicious lie you were told about motherhood?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also earn extra entries by following Mom's New Stage, Random Handprints and Scary Mommy on Facebook and Twitter!

And don’t forget to visit Scary Mommy for regular doses of Jill as well guest posts from some of the hottest mommy bloggers around.  Hilarious lists such as 10 Reasons Newborns are Evil and 7 Ways to Keep the Mystery in Your Marriage explore the good, bad and the "what the @$%& happened to my life?!!!" of motherhood.  And psst, don't forget to check the comments...

Good luck!  And if you don't win, remember, laughter is thy medicine.  Get yourself (and your friends) a copy of Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies) on Amazon!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mom in the Spotlight: Dancer, Studio Owner and Publisher of Dance Novels, Tammy Lechner

My mother likes to tell the story that I was born dancing - delivered feet first and kicking.  I have danced throughout my life as a ballerina in training, a musical theater performer and then a studio owner of 17 years.  Somewhere in there I dabbled in real estate, insurance, personal growth, baking, special needs advocacy and lots of other little sidelines that keep "free time" an evasive concept in my life.  Mom of four, doggy mom of two and loving wife to my husband and partner, Paul.  I am never one to let an opportunity pass, and these dance novels just needed someone to "do them" rather than "think about doing them". 

To learn more about Tammy's school, please visit Dance Studio London.  For more information about The Dance Series, a highly recommended series of dance novels perfect for your tween or teen bunhead, tapper or contemporary mover, please visit  Tammy's publishing company can be found at  

How old are your children?  Boys? Girls? 
I have 4 children. The oldest is a 17 year old girl who is severely autistic.  She takes special needs dance classes .The next is a 14 year old girl who is an aspiring ballet dancer. She is currently boarding at a ballet school. Then I have a 9 year old son and a 6 year old son. Both have great feet and extension but no desire to dance...YET!

How did you come to own your own studio?
After a career that included dance, theatre, film and television I moved back to my small hometown. I started a small performance troupe that eventually became a full time studio.

How did you balance running a studio and motherhood?  Especially when your children were little? 
The balance was challenging. I never took a maternity leave- just brought the babies to the studio. But I was free in the daytime and I had a creative outlet so it worked well. As the studio grew, I was able to work less nights a week so that also helped. Basically it was kind of like being a stay at home mom with a full time job.

You mentioned you daughter is a dancer.  Have you ever been her official teacher?   Does she accept your feedback and advice?
My daughter started dance at 5 and she was in my class for 3 years. At that time she got more serious and I wanted to ensure she loved dance as opposed to dancing because her mom did. I put her into another faculty member's class and she still loved it. I eventually taught her again when she was about 11 and I continued to have her in at least a class each season until she went to ballet school. She is very driven so she always took correction well and worked hard for me.

What do you want your dancers to take from The Dance Series?
I hope to reinforce some of the positive lessons that a dancer can learn through dance using dance teachers and dance friends as role models. I also want to encourage reading in pre-teens. If they can read about something they already love, it is a win-win situation!

I read Tutu Much, and admired the way the author, Airin Emery, portrayed some of the dysfunction in the dance world without glamorizing it.  What do you want your young audience to take away from the dance novels in the Dance Series?
I hope to portray realistic challenges that dancers face like weight issues, not being the teacher's favorite and losing in competition when in your heart you know you should have won in a way that our readers can identify without being overly dramatic. I hope the books inspire dancers to persevere through the challenges and enjoy the fun of dance.

With shows like Bunheads, Breaking Pointe and SYTYCD, and movies like Black Swan, it is evident that Americans are fascinated by the dance world.   As far as dance is concerned, what would you like to see more of in popular media?  
My favorite is Breaking Pointe because it is true reality. Unscripted dance drama. The other shows are great because they introduce dance to so many viewers and I love that they show men in dance. If I could create a show it would be "So You Think You Can Choreograph" and it would put young choreographers competing in setting routines on everyone from professional dancers to small children or people with physical challenges.

What are the main differences you see between today's dancers and when you were performing?
Young dancers today are often taught "tricks" before they learn technique. My belief is that these young superstars who are doing switch splits and triple turns at 6 will do irreparable damage to their bodies.

Any mom bloopers to share?  How about dance bloopers, in class or on stage?
My favorite was a number where the 5 year olds were dressed as lambs complete with tails with a pom pom on the end. After a little twirl, 2 lambs had their tails tangles together which meant they were attached together by the bum. They completed the whole piece dragging one another around the stage by the backside. Very cute!

Advice for young moms?
Dance should be fun. I don't recommend that children begin formal dance until they are 4. Gymnastics is a better for the gross motor development of toddlers. In addition to looking at the studio's credentials I always suggest you see if the teachers are people you would see as life mentors for your child. If not, keep looking! If your child loves dance they will spend a lot of time at the studio you choose so choose wisely. 

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