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Pas de Deux Photo, LLC is committed to creating policies and providing education to prevent abuse of minors at our events and in the larger community of dance and dance photography. We also provide education and resources to photographers and dancers who may not attend a PDD event.  Many dance photographers work with dancers under age 18.  Educating these professionals is a key part of our mission. Topics important to Pas de Deux Photo: abuse prevention, recognition and response; and considerations for photo sessions: costuming, posing, angles and age.

Past and Current Conference Practices

At the 2022 Conference, we used the following safety features:


  • Scheduled dancers onto photo walks into pairs (no one:one personal photo walks)

  • Required Observer Badges to all parents of dancers age 15 and under

  • Encouraged Observer Badges for dancers of all parents

  • Presentation on safety for all photographers provided by Creative Directors

  • Provided all -day Friday training session for dancers to develop strong rapport with Creative Directors 

  • Provided education for dancers on safety and self-advocacy

  • Provided Friday class on dance terminology and posing for photographers

  • Provided group photo walk focusing on posing younger dancers

  • Education for dancers provided by YPAD-certified dance instructors

  • Included dancer safety in Terms & Conditions of attending the event 

Here are the policies for the 2023 conference:


  • Requiring all attendees, volunteers, staff and speakers to complete a criminal background check

  • Requiring all attendees, volunteers & staff to view a video on dancer safety produced by Pas de Deux Photo

  • Requiring all attendees to sign a Code of Conduct 

    • Specific guidelines for interacting with dancers, types of images acceptable, dancer approval of images, and decision-making about angles and poses

  • All Pas de Deux Photo staff complete the SafeSport® Trained Core course

  • All attendees offered the opportunity to complete the SafeSport® Trained Core course

  •  Dance Creative Directors are Youth Protection Advocates in Dance certified, have completed SafeSport® Trained Core course and are Danscend Mental Wellness Certified Dance  Educators

  • Presentation on safety & etiquette for all photographers during the General Session provided by Creative Directors & Conference Directors

  • Report form available online and on - site for anyone to report a concern

  • Use of Check-In Pointe App for dancers

  • Provide safety information to parents of dancer models

  • Require Observer Badges to all parents of dancers age 15 and under

  • Encourage Observer Badges for dancers of all parents

  • All -day Friday training session for dancers to develop strong rapport with Creative Directors 

  • Education for dancers on safety and self-advocacy

  • Friday class for photographers on dance terminology and posing

  • Group photo walk focusing on posing younger dancers

  • Modified personal photo walks in small groups

    • Mentor dancers and a Creative Director assigned to personal photo walks 

  • Providing resources for dancers, parents and photographers via our webpage and on-site at our conference

  • Stricter policies for portrait sessions during the conference

  • Expanded dance staff 

  • Larger conference staff

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does Pas de Deux Photo have dancer models under age 18?

A:  There are three reasons why PDD chooses to work with dancer models under age 18.  The mission of PDD is education and community-building for photographers and working with dancers safely and appropriately is part of this education. Working with dancers under age 18 is part of the educational experience.  We are committed to elevating the knowledge of all dance photographers and encouraging everyone working with minors to be aware of potential risks and also be knowledgeable about best practices in terms of posing, angle and other photographic choices.  Focusing on photography skills and business practices without this key education would be to leave out necessary information.  In addition, many dancers stop taking dance lessons around the time of high school graduation.  These young people are passionate and skilled dancers. We are excited to be offering them the chance to be part of Pas de Deux workshops and conferences.  PDD does not wish to exclude these dancers. Thirdly, many dance photographers work with children and teen dancers - either through dance studio photography, audition photos or individual creative portraits. The opportunity to work with younger dancer models is instructive and important.

Q: Why do attendees have to complete a criminal background check?

A:   Criminal background checks are required nationally in youth sports and activities. It is done to prevent people who have committed crimes in the past from having access to minors in the present.

Here are some specifics about what background checks provide:

-  Validate volunteer identity using the information collected from the application. We want to know who is attending the conference and working with and around the children and teens modeling.

-  Sex Offender Registry (SOR) search. Sex offenders who have completed their criminal sentences are required to “register” to track where they live and their activities. The information included within the SOR is made available to the general public via a variety of websites. The most up-to-date and accurate data source is the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website. Many sex offenders do comply with the reporting requirements and residency restrictions. However, some do NOT,   Checking the SOR is a significant component, it is only one component of a thorough check.

-   National Criminal Database search. Many databases exist that contain millions of records and summary information about criminal convictions throughout the United States. Information from the database identifies which courthouses and sex offender registries to search for when looking for records. Like most databases, they include “historical” information making it difficult to provide current or the most up-to-date data. 

Q: What addition education can photographers receive about issues related to working with minors?

The PDD Creative Directors and Conference Directors are Youth Protection Advocates in Dance certified. It has a wealth of information on a range of issues related to dance and dance studios, including physical and mental wellness for dancers and creating healthier dance environments. PDD has worked with SafeSport® to make their Core course training available for $20 each to photographers.  More information about this is on our Education page.  

Pas de Deux Photo is developing interactive, on-demand online courses to address topics related to photographer choices and working with minors.  Course 1 will be required for all photographers attending the 2023 conferences.  It will also be available for viewing on our webpage for anyone looking for education who is not attending.

Q: Can photographers organize their own portrait sessions with dancers during the conference?

Simply put: no.  Our policies provide boundaries that support dancer wellness and prevent hazing, bullying and abuse.  Individual photo sessions are not at all permissible.  

It places dancers into situations where the conference Creative Directors may not know where they are or who they are with.  We follow SafeSport and YPAD guidelines and never have minors working individually with adult photographers or teachers. In addition, the dancer schedule provides for warm ups, building community and receiving additional education. Creating a warm and positive environment is a key aspect of the dance model programming .  Dancers who miss this are missing important activities.  In addition, Pas de Deux wants all dancers to have opportunities equally.  Hand selecting a dancer a personal photo session violates this important principal. It can create division within the group and lead to other dancers feeling less valued.

Q: A dancer told me that an attendee of the conference made them feel uncomfortable. What should I do?

We never want dancers at PDD to feel uncomfortable.  We encourage the person who had the experience to report the information to the PDD Leadership team of Conference Directors and Creative Directors. The more specific and detailed they can be, the more we can follow up. Report forms are available at the information table and also online. Reports can be made anonymously.  If the reporter does share their name,  we will avoid revealing the reporter's name with the person who made them feel uncomfortable.  In a case where we need to notify law enforcement, we would share the name of the reporter.  If the person who experiences the situation is not comfortable reporting, we encouraging anyone who witnessed the event to complete the form or for the person who heard about the incident to report it to us using the same form.

PDD follows up on all reports. A person might be educated on the concern, removed from photo walks and studio setups, or removed from the conference as a results of the incident.

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