Dancer Health and Wellness
Helping dancers and dance teachers navigate a path that meets both the demands of our art form and the needs of our human bodies so as to enjoy long, exciting, health-filled relationships with dance!
Dance is a demanding field and according to many sources, approximately 80% of dancers are injured at some point in a given year (ie: Liederbach et al. 2013, Allen et al. 2012, Laws 2005). Additionally, dancers are reported to experience psychological stress (Hernandez 2012, Barrell & Terry 2003, Noh et al. 2003). In addition to being unpleasant and detracting from overall wellness, stress is correlated with physical injuries in dancers (Adam et al. 2004, Liederbach & Compagno 2001).
Improving dancer health and wellness is a growing concern of most studios and institutions, but as the above figures indicate, it is not an easy task. Because I am a dancer and dance teacher, I am sensitive to the challenges we all face in the studio. I present lectures that aim to increase awareness and understanding of the unique health needs of dancers. Lecture material is always sourced from empirical studies, drawing on the most recent and relevant findings in Dance Medicine and Science, fields that take an evidence-based approach to improving the health and well being of dancers. My lectures make suggestions that are based on data from the literature, not anecdotal impressions. However, while some scientific findings are impressive and consistent, Dance Medicine and Dance Science are relatively young fields and research often raises as many questions as it answers. Dance-specific research is limited, the gaps invite criticism and debate. These lectures are designed to inform, but also to excite critical thought; I provide jumping off points for informed discussion, broadened curiosity, improved practice and perhaps, inspiration for future research.
Choose from existing lectures or request a topic specific to the needs of your population.
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Adam, M., Brassington, G., Steiner, H., & Matheson, G. (2004). Psychological factors associated with performance-limiting injuries in professional ballet dancers. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 8(2), 43–46.
Allen, N., Nevill, A., Brooks, J., Koutedakis, Y., & Wyon, M. (2012). Ballet injuries: Injury incidence and severity over 1 year. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 42(9), 781–790.
Barrell, G., & Terry, P. (2003). Trait anxiety and coping strategies among ballet dancers. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 18(2), 59–64.
Hernandez, B. M. (2012). Addressing occupational stress in dancers. The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 3–50.
Laws, H. (2005). Fit to Dance 2. Newgate Press.
Liederbach, M., & Compagno, J. m. (2001). Psychological aspects of fatigue-related injuries in dancers. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 5(4), 116–120.
Liederbach, Marijeanne. (2010). Perspectives on dance science rehabilitation understanding whole body mechanics and four key principles of motor control as a basis for healthy movement. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 14(3), 114–124.
Liederbach, Marijeanne, Schanfein, L., & Kremenic, I. J. (2013). What is known about the effect of fatigue on injury occurrence among dancers? Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 17(3), 101.
Noh, Y. e., Morris, T., & Andersen, M. b. (2003). Psychosocial stress and injury in dance. JOPERD: The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 74(4), 36–40.