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Talking points from the First Science in Dance Conference

Off the back of our very first conference and workshop event there are some very clear messages that stand out from the presentations, sessions and lectures delivered.

Rupert Wiltshire

This event was designed to bring scientists, teachers, students, professionals and Dance enthusiasts together under the same roof to share knowledge, experience, challenge perceptions and develop ideas on how Dance can evolve from a Health Care and Performance point of view.

To summarise the event, and give the chance for all those who did not get the chance to be there to experience the questions posed and knowledge shared I will share some key points and questions in this article.

Firstly, it is apparent that when perspective is applied and statistics are considered, Dance Professionals and Teachers recognise the need for cultural adaptation in how Dancers are looked after and advised in terms of their Health and Wellbeing. This is a huge step forward from previous years where muscular strength and reducing injury risk via external practitioners was not considered. With researched injury rates increasing dramatically over the last decade, especially in the lower extremities, there has never been a better time than now to question Why? and What can be done?

A key point from one of our key note speakers this weekend was... "We notice how technology has influenced the development of football boots and running spikes over the last 50 years... Does that not suggest we should look for more scientific development of Dance footwear (Pointe Shoes) whilst keeping tradition because it just has not developed that much...?"

Food for thought...

Jamie Bond, formerly a Principal with Birmingham Royal Ballet, delivered a brilliant strength training for Dance myth-busting session. Posing evidence based points to Dance professionals regarding strength training being able to offset and reduce injury risk by de-loading vulnerable structures of the body and increase fatigue resistance to allow for safe Dance mechanics and reduce Dance overload occurrence.

Presenting on this topic to those that are new to strength training can present challenges. However, Jamie very eloquently explained how performing strength training will illicit desired effects rather than unwanted effects providing that exercise is prescribed in the correct way in line with current research.

In other words, muscle hypertrophy, will not occur to an unwanted degree if an S&C coach is programming correctly with a Strength/Power and a Muscular Endurance emphasis.

To add to this, in my own experience as a Strength Coach in Dance, Strength Training performed in this way will allow Dancers to look like Dancers and perform like Dancers whilst improving Strength relative to body weight. In turn the stronger the Dancer becomes... the more efficient they become in accelerating, decelerating and stabilising their own bodies.

Science in Dance Ballet Class

Finally, as there are some many messages and talking points from the weekend gone by... the message is quite clear.

Dance Scientists, Physios and Coaches like Jamie and myself, are passionate about Dancers continuing to Dance and the art from thriving amongst the 21st Century. Therefore, we are happy to help and have many discussions with all of you. And likewise... Dancers, Dance Teachers, Directors... Tell us what you or your Dancers would like to be able to do... How can we help...? Tap into our knowledge and resources to help you become more athletic, strong, stable and injury free.

If you missed the event this weekend... Do not worry, there will be more... Very Soon.

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