1. a group of people organized for a joint purpose.
2. a connection or cooperative link between people or organizations.
As an association, YPAD™ is built on four building blocks as represented in our logo: training opportunities, certification standards, research development, and positive industry connections.
YPAD™ was initially created as an instructional and certification program, as part of a non-profit called EDIFY Movement, and its acronym stood for Youth Protection Advocates in Dance®. The program was founded by professional dancer, Leslie Scott Zanovitch, and a group of passionate advocates, in 2012. In 2018, the founder and board asked longtime supporter and original YPAD™ Certified Studio owner Misty Lown to acquire the program as it was not sustainable in the non-profit model. Misty acquired and updated the course in 2019 to create more accessible access to education and certification options.
By 2022, the needs of the industry had changed. It was time for a stronger standard and fresh direction for YPAD™. With the help of seasoned dance, health, and safety professionals, the existing business and original courses were retired. A brand new YPAD™ was created. Instructional designers, writers, and researchers were engaged, and a new company was formed along with a new identity: Youth Protection Association for Dance™. This new name was chosen to reflect that YPAD™ is a group organized with a common purpose–safeguarding dancers and empowering confident adults.
Our deep appreciation goes to the following contributors:
Dr. Addie Briggs, MD, co-founder of Fitness DAWGS
Emily Bufferd, founder of The Young Choreographer's Festival
Jessica Michaels, founder of 3JOANNES SAFR
Erika Hogan, MS and founder New Attitude Performing Arts Center
Karen White, Senior Editor at INsight Magazine
Brett Titus, founder of LifeSpot
Holly Nieman, PT at Andrews Health Children's Institute
Dr. Kim Evans, EdD, retired superintendent, and co-founder of Fitness DAWGS
Dr. Andrew Jagim, PhD researcher at Mayo Health System
Denise Meyer, licensed educator and project manager for YPAD™
Stephen M. Potts, JD and member of The Texas Center for Legal Ethics
Dr. Sheyi Ojofeitimi, PT, DPT, OCS, CFMT, director of therapy services at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and co-founder of Dance Ready Project
Jenny Clark, MSW, LCSW, CSOTP, CFI, Stein Counseling and Consulting Services, Ltd
Emily Harrison, RD and founder of Dancer Nutrition
Joan Parke, JD, COO of the Boys and Girls Club–La Crosse
Dr. Jeff Russell, PhD researcher at Ohio State
Mathew Farmer, MFA, professor at Hope College
Katie Gatlin, MS, LPC, CCTP, CSTS, private practice
Dr. Danelle Dickson, PhD, owner of Performance Plus Physical Therapy, and co-founder of Dance Ready Project
Dr. Chelsea Pierotti, PhD, University of Colorado-Boulder
Tiffany Prout-Leitao, YPAD™ certified coach and founder Center Stage Dance Academy
Richard Smith, adjunct faculty at East Carolina University
Misty Lown, ME-PD and owner of YPAD™
Vanessa Terrell, YPAD™ certified coach and owner of The Pointe School of Dance
Julie Holt Lucia, YPAD™ content creator and former studio owner
Jill Williams, YPAD™ certified coach and president of Leap Studios
Cassie Scheevel, YPAD™ education coordinator
Tracey Wozny, founder STAR Leadership program
Carolyn Colleen, MBA, founder of Acton Academy Midwest
Cynthia Newland, MFA, former professor at Belhaven University
“We must prioritize our students’ well-being and progress them only when they are ready to safely approach new ideas in mind, body, and spirit.”
“Studio owners, like all small business owners, don't need to "do it all" on their own. Organizations like YPAD™ can help.”
“A culture of continuous improvement and a community of motivated, empowered educators committed to providing the best possible education to their students.”
Now accepting studio certification renewals and new studio certification applications!
Hurry! Applications for 2023-24 close December 31, 2023 and will reopen for 2024-25 on July 1, 2024.
YPAD™ is based in the United States. Though the education presented here is built upon U.S. standards, YPAD™ recognizes that there may be different standards in other cultures and countries across the globe. It is important to refer to the governance of your home country, state, province, or city to ensure consistent, legal compliance with the appropriate local regulations.
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