What is Dance Science?

Photo: Natasha King

Photo: Natasha King

In a nut shell, dance science aims to improve the well-being of dancers. This covers both physical well-being (well-being of the body), and psychological well-being (well-being of the mind).

Dance science is a fast-growing scientific field. In dance science, the aims are to research different aspects of dance practice e.g. from biomechanical, physiological, psychological, social, nutritional, medical, and rehabilitation’s perspectives.

 

What is Researched?

The researchers in dance science aim to help the people working in the dance field (recreational dancers, professional dancers, dance teachers) in preventing injuries, to optimise dance practice, and to enhance the know-how of those working in dancers’ rehabilitation. Also, research is done in the many benefits dance can have for the non-dancing populations such as elderly people, and people with long-term illnesses or disabilities.

 

The Artist Athlete

Research in Sport Sciences has been done for decades. This research is of course applied in dance and has given a lot of valuable knowledge for the dance field. But why is Dance Science then needed as a separate field?

A professor of Sport Science, Craig Sharp, was the first to coin the phrase ‘artist athlete’ for dancers. This was the first step towards better understanding dance and appreciation of it not just as art but also as a sport.

 

Understanding Dance

Unlike in most sports, there are rules in dance technique, that would be impossible to understand unless familiar with the dance genre. The body is expected to perform positions and movement patters which it sure was not designed to do, but which still are part of dancers’ daily routine and practice.

If you ever felt pain when training or had an injury where did you seek for help? Understandably, there usually aren’t any experts of dance medicine and rehabilitation working in public health care. Thus, you may have been advised to stop dancing what so ever? Or simply to stop performing the movement that is causing the pain.

Once the health care professional understands dance they will have different approach to your condition or pain. They will understand, that the painful movements or patterns cannot be taken away as they are part of a choreography or mandatory for your dance genre. Other options will be to find ways to support the movements and find what may be wrong in your alignment. A dance physiotherapist for example will better understand your dance technique and its demands and will then be able to offer proper supplementary training for you to avoid any problems in the future.

Hit me with a message if you need any help in finding a suitable dance physio or other health care professional near you – I will do my best in searching the for you!

 

Research Findings into Practice

Dance scientific research is increasing, and the field is slowly growing. Still, it takes a lot of effort for the findings to reach the dance field. Thus, in my blog I wish to bring some of the research findings to you in a from that is easy to approach – for recreational and professional dancers, and dance teachers. Please let me know if you are interested in reading about any specific subject!

 

-Sofia

 

Read more about dance science:

International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS):

http://www.iadms.org/blogpost/1177934/General

National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS):

https://www.nidms.co.uk/research