Danscend’s mission is to bring mental wellness to the forefront of dance training by providing a space for education, application, and community to dancers, educators, and professionals.

Dancers spend hours every day training their bodies and honing their craft, but there is little to no attention paid to training their minds as well. Many dancers struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, depression, negative self-talk, and maintaining a positive body image. And they are told to leave all of this outside the dance studio.

Danscend was born out of the desire to open the doors of the dance studios and begin to foster conversations that will create future generations of healthy dancers and dance educators – inside and out.

“Recently, there's been a noticeable push for more education and support surrounding mental illness. And while every industry can benefit from this shift, it's especially overdue in the dance world.”

-Dance Spirit, August 2019

It is clear that the dance industry is in need of a solution.

Welcome to Danscend

Hi. We're Kristin & Michelle.

Kristin Deiss and Michelle Loucadoux have a shared sixty years in the dance industry. Both have worked extensively as professional dancers and are well-versed and experienced in the realm of dance education.

After working together in the education field for seven years, the idea of Danscend was born because of an overwhelming need that Deiss and Loucadoux observed in their students. No stranger to the need for mental health awareness, both creators wrestled with various issues in their professional dance careers as well.

In Danscend, Deiss and Loucadoux have created a resource that they wish was available when they were beginning their dance careers, a resource that will benefit not only their students but also the dance industry as a whole.

Meet our Advisory Board!

Photo of Dr. Alice Schluger
Dr. Alice Schluger

Dr. Alice Schluger is an accomplished health professional with an extensive background in clinical research, health education, and psychology. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Community Health Education and a PhD in Health Psychology. Her dissertation titled “Disordered Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in Female College Dance Students: Comparison of Modern Dance and Ballet Dance Majors” has been published in the North American Journal of Psychology.

Dr. Schluger has also taught graduate courses in Health & Wellness Psychology. She continues her academic and research pursuits as a member of the Health Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association and various dance-affiliated organizations. She is currently a freelance health writer and has published numerous article for PsychologyToday.com and other health-related communications.

Dr. Schluger has a strong passion for dance and has taken ballet classes for most of her adult life, as well as serving as a longtime Information Committee volunteer at The New York City Ballet.

As a Certified Wellness Practitioner/Wellness Coach, Dr. Schluger has comprehensive knowledge of the unique health and wellness issues pertaining to dancers and the challenges associated with this demanding profession. Her coaching practice is devoted to helping dancers accomplish goals and embrace new challenges to thrive in their life and career. If you are interested in finding out more information, please check out her website https://wellnessfordancers.com

Simon Ward

Simon Ward is an actor, psychologist and educator based in Sydney, Australia. Simon trained in the MA Musical Theatre degree & the LRAM program in teaching voice at the Royal Academy of Music in London, holds a Licentiate in Musical Theatre from Trinity College London, trained in Acting with the Actors Centre Australia, and completed four Psychology degrees at Macquarie University in Sydney.

He has performed in London’s West End, New York City & throughout Australia in musicals, plays, opera and extensively in cabaret. He has also directed shows for the Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe Festivals.

Simon teaches acting, singing, voice, and mental health for performers to university and college students, and also coaches and runs workshops internationally on anxiety and the voice, psychology and performing, psychology and professional development for arts educators. He works with individuals, educational institutions, and arts industry organisations.

Simon has also worked as a Clinical Psychologist in the NSW Government Health Department, as a consultant psychologist for the Australian Ballet & works in private practice. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, an Associate Fellow and Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, a member of the Australian Psychological Society, a member of the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance, a member of the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing, the British Voice Association, Equity UK and MEAA Equity Australia. www.simonward.info

“Spend the money. Do it. It’s going to make a world of difference in the way dancers handle and shoulder the pressure that naturally comes with all of the things dancers deal with.”

- Brianne Zborowski - Co-founder and CEO - Apolla Performance

"For Kristin and Michelle, their passion for dance and dancer health has driven them to this entrepreneurial place and new platform. Their determination and energy to help continue the conversation is completely authentic and compelling."

- Christy Sandmaier - Inside Dance Magazine, July 2021

As seen in:

Check out our feature in the July 2021 issue of Inside Dance written by Christy Sandmaier.

We loved chatting with Brianne Zborowski from Apolla Performance! Click here to see our chat.

It was so fun to talk to Justine Menter from MNTR MGMT. Check out our interview here.

Check out our feature in Dance Informa's American Edition here.

Nancy Dobbs Owen wrote an article in the LA Dance Chronicle about addressing mental health in dancers that featured us! Check it out here.

Danscend offers scholarships to exceptional dancers at the United States Tournament of Dance National Championships.

Get Help Now

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


National Sexual Assault Hotline


The Emily Program 

Eating Disorder Hotline


The Trans Lifeline


DISCLAIMER: The information provided on Danscend, and through its courses, is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a mental health problem without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. Danscend is not liable for how the information is used and cannot be held responsible or guarantee any results. Danscend is simply serving as a coach, mentor, and guide to help you reach your own health and wellness goals. 

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