Former student teaches healthy body image alongside dance steps

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Tobey McCutcheon

After suffering from anorexia and bulimia in high school, Tobey McCutcheon wanted to pursue a career that would allow him to help young girls achieve their health and fitness goals, while also battling low self-esteem and low self-esteem. bad body image.

She majored in community health education and was one of the last University of Arkansas students to earn a minor in dance. During her final year at U of A, an internship experience helped her discover that some careers would not be as convenient as she would like. And the volume of paperwork was intimidating.

She panicked.

Then she took action that led to a 20-year career. McCutcheon, who had been taking dance lessons since the age of three, decided to open his own studio. She hoped that being an owner and an instructor in her home would make it easier for young dancers to avoid the heartache of an eating disorder.

She opened Rhythm & Shoes in 1995, a few months after graduating from the U of A. She continued her dance training through conventions in Arkansas, Missouri and New York. “My time at U of A gave me the confidence to continue in the field,” she said.

After two years, McCutcheon’s studio in Tontitown was so busy it had to expand. The hours were long. “You prepare for class most of your day because you teach preschoolers to advanced students,” she said. “The preparation is totally different.

The competitions have eaten up entire weekends. And the paperwork was inevitable.

However, McCutcheon adored his students, their parents and the dance teachers in the studio. She was thrilled to have a positive influence on a new generation of dancers.

“Dancing is important for kids. You obviously teach them movement, but that’s just the tool you use,” she said. “They learn a skill that takes time, persistence, and practice. They learn that they can overcome obstacles through hard work, but no one else can do it for them. It instills confidence. in all areas of their lives. “

In 2015, McCutcheon decided to sell Rhythm & Shoes to one of his dance teachers. She’s still in the studio, however. “I am by nature a work horse,” she said. “I still teach a lot, every night from 4 to 8:45 p.m. I have taught tap and jazz in the past, but I only teach tap and Zumba these days. Tap is my love and Zumba is my pleasure. “

It is gratifying to see former students become dance teachers themselves. McCutcheon is confident that her life lessons will continue to be taught alongside dance moves.

This story is the latest in a series called The Dean’s Spotlight, featuring outstanding students from the College of Education and Health Professions. Visit COEHP’s online magazine, The Colleague, for more news from the six units that make up the College. Visit the Health, Human Performance and Recreation page for more information on COEHP’s health promotion programs.

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