International Association of Dance Medicine and Science: A Week in Finland

November 1, 2018

Here is the Science in Dance review of the 2018 International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conference from Helsinki, Finland.


Strap yourselves in for some pictorial and editorial highlights from IADMS 2018. 


Firstly, I must thank every single member of the IADMS and Dance Health Finland for making Science in Dance so welcome at the Conference and congratulations on an amazing 4 days of insight, research and networking. 


Helsinki is a fantastic city with much to offer in history and amazing food. The day before the conference started I was thrilled to join Katy Chambers, Steph De'Ath, Sarah Needham-Beck and Claire Farmer, all from the UK and flying the flag for One Dance UK and NIDMS, on a trip to one of the islands surrounding Helsinki for a crash course in GEO-Cacheing... Check it out if you don't know what it is!


The opening of the conference had to be seen to be believed as Finnish Break Dancer, Atta, took to the stage to give us his interpretation of how conducting should look... AMAZING...


The first keynote of the week surrounded sleep. Dr Henri Tuomilehto presented the need for balance in activity and recovery, demonstration that the equation of BURDEN VS RECOVERY must be balanced to maximise hormonal response at night and maintain cognitive and physical output if we are to succeed at work or in Dance. Similarly, changes in work environment and personal life can impact sleep quality. As such, Sleeping is a skill and must be practised properly with guidance to maximise daily output.

Benefits of Sleep at a hormonal level: 10-20% higher testosterone levels and increases in growth hormone for recovery.


"Pace and Master your Vitality."


My next Highlight came from Dr Sarah Needham-Beck who presented her data surrounding training loads and implications of monitoring Session RPE (check our previous article on this topic). 

Sarah demonstrated the concept of the training load sweet spot in Acute:Chronic workload ratio, where by sharp changes in load can increase injury risk and thus being in the sweet spot with high chronic training loads (intensity and volume) may mitigate injury risk.


Dr Boni Reitveld presented his orthopaedic assessment of the Classical Dancer which was insightful and full of tips for the clinician!


Nico Kolokythas (S&C Coach) presented his detailed and meticulously thought out research and development process of the 11+ Dance for injury prevention. 


3 presentations stuck out for me.   

  • Susan Mayes of Australian Ballet discussing their wellness system and Repertoire specific training for injury prevention and performance.

  • Dance Health Finland's AJG Howse Memorial Lecture on the Dancer's Hip. 

  • Dr Nicky Keay's presentation on Endocrinology and Relative Energy Deficiency - Sport (Performance) which tied together aspects of Training Load, Nutrition and Recovery.