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Ridge Runner Cloggers’ Director, Tamsyn Simon, has become the first dance educator in North Central Arkansas to achieve Youth Protection Advocates in Dance® certification. The certification marks its commitment to keeping kids happy, healthy and safe in dance.

What is YPAD?


YPAD courses are the foremost, research based, educational courses for dance professionals and the dance industry as a whole. The intention of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance® is to provide dance professionals with the skills and resources to protect and develop healthy, happy dancers. Through the use of online courses, YPAD courses educate dance studios and communities worldwide on the core elements in constructing an environment focused on the well-being of kids and a sustainable, safe future for dance. Key characteristics of a YPAD certified studio are: background checks on studio staff; Adult, Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED certification of studio staff; completion of YPAD courses; age-appropriateness of music, movement and costumes.



The YPAD Safety Course empowers dance professionals with the necessary educational resources needed to teach and serve young dancers. Through the use of four modules, the Youth Protection Advocates In Dance® Safety course highlights the foremost practices required to create a healthy dance environment for today’s youth and future generations. In the course, dance professionals can expect to learn about the following core areas: educational best practices including background checks and CPR/First Aid, abuse awareness & prevention, injury prevention & response, and safety & emergency preparedness.


YOUTH PROTECTION ADVOCATES IN DANCE® SAFETY + WELLNESS CERTIFICATION The Youth Protection Advocates In Dance® Safety + Wellness Certification Course offers dance professionals all the educational resources found within the YPAD Safety Course with the benefit of four supplementary modules. These four modules allow dance professionals to dive deeper into the wellness and development of youth dancers. Through these additional educational modules, dance professionals will gain a more comprehensive skill-set to work with and understand young students. Key areas of focus will include: social media/media safety/today’s dance culture, developmentally appropriate artistry, body image/nutrition/disordered eating, and bullying/conflict resolution.

YPAD was founded in Los Angeles in 2012 by hip hop professional Leslie Scott Zanovitch and her husband Joseph Zanovitch as a response to negative trends toward commodifying and exploiting youth and adults in performing arts. In 2014, industry professional Misty Lown became its visionary sponsor, and her More Than Just Great Dancing affiliation program became YPAD’s first certified organization. Lown’s studio, Misty’s Dance Unlimited, also became YPAD’s first certified dance studio. YPAD leadership transitioned to Lown in 2019. The Zanovitches today continue to serve on YPAD’s advisory panel. Learn more at

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