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The Answers to All Your Questions About Your Child's Dance Training are here in this book. Comprehensive and practical advice for parents of dance students of all ages at your fingertips

Help and Guidance for Dance Parents from Pre-School to Pre-Professionals

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Look Before You Leap

Steps to Your Child's Greatest Success in Dance
Pulling Back the Curtain on the Dance Industry

Look Before You Leap guides parents towards helping their children to achieve their greatest success in dance.

  As we pull back the curtain on the dance​ industry, it has never been more important for parents and students to become as informed as possible to avoid the damage that is being done to children through the world-wide epidemics of extreme training, over-training, unqualified teachers and the global sexualisation of dance students.

  A safe and successful dance education can be achieved as parents discover what to look for and what to avoid when choosing a dance studio and ensuring the best, safe pathways to a happy, fulfilling and successful dance journey.

From pre-school dance to full-time training, the easy to read 'Look Before You Leap" brings information together from Dance Professionals, Dance Medicine/Science experts and the observation, opinions and advice through the extensive experience of the author. 

Whether a child learns dancing as a fun, recreational hobby or dreams of a professional career in dance or the performing arts, 'Look Before You Leap" is a must read for all parents, families, students teachers and the extended dance community.

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About the Author

Dianne Headshot 2020 retouch.jpg

Dianne Leathem ARAD ATOD ADA

Member International Dance Council

Member Australian Dance Adjudicators Assn

Associate Member Royal Academy of Dance

Affiliate Member Australian Teachers of Dancing

Member IADMS International Association of Dance Medicine and Science

Dianne’s life-long love of dance began aged 4 ½ in Christchurch, New Zealand, when she fell in love with everything about it, and particularly the music. Having been inspired by seeing her first musical, ‘Westside Story’,   she choreographed and played the lead role in her school’s production of ‘Peter Pan’ aged 7.   

 Dianne considers herself to be immensely fortunate to have worked with such highly esteemed, inspiring mentors such as Russell Kerr QSM, ONZM,   Loraine Peters QSM,   Gillian Francis,   Julia Barry, and Robert Young, as well as many visiting Master Teachers.   But her gratitude extends most significantly to David Peake, formerly of the Royal Ballet, Sadlers Wells Ballet and Kiel Opera Ballet in Germany, and the Royal NZ Ballet. David’s first production   of ‘Coppelia’   was an outstanding inspiration to Dianne, who greatly admired David’s artistry and professionalism. Under David’s inspiring mentorship, she went on to partner him in major ballet productions and tours with Southern Ballet Theatre under the directorship of Russell Kerr.

Teaching most styles and specialising in Classical Ballet for over 35 years, Dianne was Director of her own large and very successful studio in New Zealand. In Australia, Dianne she was   honoured to work closely with the former Patron and Life Member of ATOD, - Averil Binzer, teaching and co-directing Bellder Ballet Theatre.   After directing her own studio, she went on to freelance, including teaching for the renowned Prudence Bowen. Dianne has adjudicated  numerous Eisteddfods and Scholarships in Australia and New Zealand over many years. She, as well as has choreographed and staged many ballets, musicals, trade shows, solos, duos, and groups for international, national, state and local competitions.

 As a performer, Dianne   has danced lead & and solo roles in many well- known ballets, musicals, trade shows, cabaret, theatre and commercial dance and has worked extensively in television.  Many of her former students have gone on to careers in ballet companies, contemporary dance, musical theatre, commercial dance, cruise ships, Disney, Universal Studios, Moulin Rouge, Lido,   teaching, choreography and dance- related fields.

With a reputation for upholding the very highest standards and integrity in dance teaching and adjudicating, that were passed onto her by her esteemed teachers, Dianne has travelled extensively to observe and further her knowledge in dance and has been a guest of the Vaganova Academy of Classical Ballet in St Petersburg Russia, the American Ballet Theatre (JKO) NYC,   and The Australian Ballet,   and has observed in Germany, Prague, London, RAD the Royal Academy of Dance’s Genéee Competition and   West End Musicals, the Youth America Grands Prix NYC and numerous shows on   Broadway, New York.

Dianne greatly enjoys witnessing  the next generation of talent. Her increasing, heartfelt and genuine concern for the wellbeing and welfare of dance students and parents has compelled her to write ‘Look Before You Leap’.

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Professional Dance Adjudicator

Professional, highly qualified & experienced in all genres.

Encouraging & thorough, Dianne is committed to rewarding well trained technique, age-appropriate choreography, costuming & music.

Dianne strongly discourages dangerous and extreme movements as well as the sexualisation of young dance students.

Dianne Headshot 2020 retouch.jpg

Dianne Leathem

Professional Dance Adjudicator

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The Path To Your Success is not as Fixed and Inflexible as You Think

Quote: Misty Copeland. Principal Ballerina American Ballet Theatre
Photo: Gina-Marie Leathem

Gina photo in long green dress
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