Educating Dancers

About Heather Vaughan-Southard

Heather Vaughan-Southward specializes in connection and community building. She offers project-based learning in K-12 and healthcare contexts, pedagogy consultation, and creative-self-care experiences. Heather formerly directed dance programs in Higher Education and K-12 settings and danced professionally in Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles, and through-out Michigan. She represents Dance for the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project (MAEIA), serves as a columnist for Dance Advantage, authors the blog EducatingDancers, and was invited to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Dance Education. She is a national conference presenter in the fields of dance and movement pedagogy and is completing a comprehensive pilates certification through the McEntire School. Heather currently serves as Director of Health and Education Services for Happendance, Inc., a non-profit dance organization based in Michigan. Heather is married to author Scott D. Southard and has two children who seem to be in perpetual motion.

Laying The Path To Your Best Work in Dance And Education

A year ago Heather wanted to quit teaching dance. She’s back but with new purpose after reevaluating and evolving. Find out what it took to find her way back.

On Paths and Pyramids: Reshaping The Future of Dance

Competition dance ends at 18 years old. At that point dancers make a choice to buy-in or let go to a different view of dance. How do we help them with the transition?

Potential Hazards of Discussing a Dancer’s Potential

Dancers care a lot about their potential to “make it” in a dance career. But do you and your students define potential the same way? How you talk to dancers about their futures matters.

When Challenging Advanced Dancers Presents Challenges

Heather works through the challenges of working with “advanced dancers” as she encourages high school company dancers, who feel pressure to perform and meet expectations, to move and think outside their comfort zones.

Kindness in the Classroom: Moving, Discussing, and Being Our Best

This summer Heather led workshops on empathy-based pedagogy and emotionally intelligent teaching. Are you sending messages of kindness to your students? Heather gives tips on how.