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IADMS 2017 DUEL: Cryotherapy - help or harm?

Posted By IADMS Promotion Committee, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

This year's Annual Conference will host a few IADMS DUELS!

Here, we will introduce you to the two duelists debating CRYOTHERAPY - HELP OR HARM?

 

Speaking for the HELP of cryotherapy:

Valerie Williams, PT, PhD, Brunel University, London, United Kingdom

 


Photographer: Neil Graveney

 

 

1.          Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 27th IADMS Annual Conference?  

My presentation is part of a the IADMS "duels" series. My colleague and I are debating the benefits and risks of cryotherapy using the available evidence on both sides. I am advocating the "help" of using ice in therapy, while she is arguing the "harm".    

 

 

2.          Why is it import to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?    

This topic is important because there is evidence to support to use of ice in therapy and evidence against it. We are presenting research and recommendations on both sides to help clinicians make informed decisions in their practice and education of dancers.  

 

3.          What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work? 

 IADMS is very relevant to my field of work because it connects me with other clinicians and academics who work with dancers.   

 

4.          Personally, what is the importance of attending to IADMS annual conferences? 

Attending IADMS annual conference is important to me because to provides an opportunity for me to meet with and listed to presentations of professionals from around the world. It helps to keep me up to date on research, and it also motivates me to continue working on my own projects to present and share.   

 

5.          What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference? 

This year I am most looking forward to the opening symposium on what dance medicine and science can learn from sport.

 

Speaking for the HARM of cryotherapy:

Rosie C. Canizares, PT DPT, SCS, Duke University, Durham, NC, United States, PASIG, Orthopaedic section, American Physical Therapy Association

 


Photographer: Duke Photography

 

1.      Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 27th IADMS Annual Conference? 

I am presenting in the IADMS 'Duel' called "Cryotherapy- help or harm?"  Additionally, I am a co-author of the posters "Associations among age, experience, and injuries of dancers presenting to a dancer wellness clinic" and "Musculoskeletal effects and injury risk in collegiate Indian classical and ballet dancers."  

 

2.      Why is it import to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?   

It is important to discuss cryotherapy with the IADMS community because many dancers use ice when they are in pain or injured whether they know why they are doing so or not.  Dancers and the health care professionals who treat them should understand they why behind this intervention so that it can be used safely and most effectively so that it is helpful and not harmful.  

 

3.      What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work?  

I am so excited that IADMS exists as an organization!  It is great to know that there are so many people in the world who share my interests and are committed to the health and wellness of dancers.  It is also reassuring to be able to refer my dancer patients to other health care professionals that understand their unique needs, and it gives my physical therapy students an avenue to pursue their passion for dance medicine. 

 

4.     Personally, what is the importance of attending to IADMS annual conferences?  For me personally, the IADMS annual conference is a fantastic opportunity to network as well as stay on top of the research in the dance medicine world.  I am also pleased to represent the Performing Arts Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association to the larger world-wide dance medicine community. 

 

4.      What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference?  

I am most looking forward to seeing my dance medicine colleagues in person, particularly those members of the APTA's PASIG, and I anticipate meeting new colleagues and expanding my network. 

 

 

Tags:  Annual Conference  cryotherapy  duel 

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IADMS2017: Top 10 Things to do in Houston, Texas

Posted By IADMS Student Committee, Sunday, October 8, 2017

Top 10 Things to do in Houston

 

 

1.       Houston Zoo-  The Houston Zoo is one of the top attractions in Houston, and the Number 2 most visited zoo in the country!  Come see some awesome exhibits, and even feed giraffes!

 

 

 

2.       The Galleria - If you want to shop, this is definitely the place to do it! There are over 375 stores in this mall making it the largest one in Texas!! There is even an ice skating rink in the middle of it!

 

 

 

3.       Museum of Fine Arts Houston - They say that art is truly meaningful only when it is shared.  Come check out the 63,000 different artworks in this museum!

 

 

4.       UPDATE! Wortham Center was damaged in the Hurricane Harvey floods Houston experienced last month and will not reopen until Summer 2018.

Wortham Center - A beautiful theatre that is home to the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera. 

 

 

5.       Discovery Green Park -  The “Central Park” of Houston! Relax at the park after a busy afternoon of being in the city!

 

 

 

6.       Houston Arboretum and Nature Center - The Arboretum is a nature sanctuary for the native plants and animals of Houston!

 

 

 

7.       Cockrell Butterfly Center - A glass enclosed butterfly habitat, with a 50- foot waterfall! Houston’s very own rainforest!

 

 

8.       The Miller Outdoor Theatre – A huge performance space where audience members can enjoy the fresh air and a show almost every night of the week!

 

 

 

9.       NASA Space Center Houston - You can take a tram tour of the space center. The space center in Houston has served as “mission control” in many past space expeditions, most famously, the Apollo 13 expedition! 

 

 

10.   Houston Museum of Natural Science - One of the most visited museums in the country! You will be amazed at all the cool archeological finds that are here!

 

IADMS Student Committee

 

Tags:  Annual Conference 

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IADMS 2017: Student Events!

Posted By IADMS Student Committee, Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Annual Meeting is upon us and there are some exciting student events this year!

 

Our student social is a great way to meet new faces during the conference and to network with Dance Science students from across the globe! This years’ student social will take place on the Friday night of the conference - meet us at 7.30pm in the conference hotel lobby and we will go from there!

 

Student committee members will be present throughout the meeting - look out for us at registration and in the Lamar room where we are setting up an interactive Q&A board - here you can post your questions to professionals and they will respond!

 

Other student events and sessions include our student and young professionals networking event and a panel discussion on building your career in dance medicine and science – see details below!

 

 

Student and young professional networking workshop

An opportunity for students to connect with professionals and to build networks in their area of interest.

What?

You will meet professionals from a variety of fields including education, research, medicine, athletic training, nutrition, and massage therapy in a fun speed-networking style session!

When?

Thursday 12th October, 5:30 - 6:20pm

Where?

Sam Houston Room

 

Student Social

Our student social is a great way to meet new faces at the meeting in an informal setting and to network with Dance Science students from across the globe!

What?

Networking and drinks (and possibly some ice cream…) with IADMS student members

When?

Friday 13th October, 7.30pm

Where?

Meeting in the lobby of the conference hotel - look out for members of the student committee there!

 

Building your career: a panel discussion on avenues to careers in dance medicine and science

What?

We will be hearing from experts in research, medicine, physical therapy, athletic training, and education. Please contribute to the discussion by submitting questions to the student committee located at registration!

When?

Sunday October 15th, 12:30-1:15pm.

Where?

Navarro/Hidalgo room

 

We look forward to welcoming you to the conference next week!

 

Your Student Committee

 

Tags:  Annual Conference  students 

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IADMS 2017: Speaker Brooke Winder

Posted By IADMS Promotion Committee, Monday, October 2, 2017

Introducing a featured speaker at this year's IADMS Annual Conference - Brooke Winder, PT, DPT, OCS. Brooke is faculty at Cal State Long Beach and serves as a committee member in the American Physical Therapy Association's Performing Arts Special Interest Group!

 

 

1.      Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 27th IADMS Annual Conference?

 

The focus of my presentation is a synthesis of current research regarding pelvic floor dysfunction, including varied diagnoses such as incontinence and pelvic pain, in dancers. The goal of this presentation is to present hypothesized risk factors for pelvic floor dysfunction in the dance population and to highlight needs for future research and clinical screening.

 

2.      Why is it import to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?

 

This topic is important because pelvic floor dysfunction imposes significant limitations in the quality of life of performers who experience symptoms. These symptoms are often underreported due to their sensitive nature. If knowledge in this area can be expanded within the dance community I believe we can become even better equipped to educate dancers and help healthcare professionals spot and take care of these issues more frequently.

 

3.      What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work?

 

 As a Doctor of Physical Therapy and professor of Dance Science at California State University, Long Beach, I think IADMS is an extremely important organization in my field. Through IADMS I can stay connected to current research and clinical trends in dance science with perspectives drawn from an incredibly wide range of locations and experiences. I can also help bring the most current information to my undergraduate and graduate students and help them to become more involved in the dance science community.

 

4.      Personally, what is the importance of attending to IADMS annual conferences?

 

 I feel that attending the IADMS annual conference is important for me in many ways. The research, clinical pearls and movement experiences at IADMS annual conferences help me to feel inspired by those around me doing great work and advocating so well for performers’ health and well-being. It helps me to widen my vision about where my own research can go and how I can more creatively and effectively help my patients and my students.

 

5.      What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference?

 

 I am looking forward to dialoging face to face with others who share the same passion as I do for the field of dance science. I look forward to connecting with the faculty from other dance science programs and other dance physical therapists to share ideas. And, in general, I am excited to learn from this year’s varied programming.

 


Tags:  Annual Conference 

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IADMS 2017 A Day for Teachers PANEL: Gaby Allard

Posted By IADMS Promotion Committee, Monday, October 2, 2017

Gaby Allard, ArtEZ School of Dance, Arnhem, The Netherlands, Faculty of Dance and Theatre Director, will be part of a panel of speakers on A Day for Teachers - part of the IADMS 2017 Annual Conference. Check out this brief interview with her here!

 


Photographer: Ron Steemers

 

1.      Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 27th IADMS Annual Conference?

As a member of a panel discussing the challenges of implementing dance science and medicine, I aim to contribute to the awareness and importance of the need to form interdisciplinary teams around research implementation trajectories. I offer discourse around the notion of circulair valorization, a product of the research I have been conducting with several ass professors within my research projects. (M.Wyon, H.Oosterling)  

 

2.      Why is it import to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?

I frequently experience the challenges practitioners and researchers undergo in understanding how to go about connecting their practice, terminology, methods and standards. When it really starts to matter, deep deep into the actual practice of connecting/ bridging knowledge, we still have some work to do. It will influence how we look at valorization and dissemination.   

 

3.      What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work?

 As a school director, my main focus is to provide excellent education for all our students. As a Practice Based researcher, my main driver is distill relevant questions from our practice and transit them to diverse research practices. As the director of The National Centre Performing Arts my main concern is to connect performing arts knowledge and research output from and to other domains. I think it is in the bridging that takes place between my own roles and these domains that I feel and experience IADMS and the IADMS network does play an important role.   

 

4.      Personally, what is the importance of attending to IADMS annual conferences?

Check, balance, connect.  To get insight in the latest research, test my ideas on possible interest and research relevance of pending questions from the practice, (re)connect with my peers. Get inspired and motivated to turn back a few days later to the position of 'lonely ambassador' in my daily practice.  

 

5.      What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference?

The openness to test ideas with experts and the increasing focus on bridging practice and research.

 

 

Tags:  Annual Conference 

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IADMS 2017: Speaker Jatin Ambegaonkar

Posted By IADMS Promotion Committee, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Introducing Jatin Ambegaonkar - a featured speaker at this year's Annual Conference and the Chair of the IADMS Research Committee. Check out an interview with Jatin here.

 

 

1.          Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 27th IADMS Annual Conference? 

 

Dancers often perform hop, jump, and land motions to achieve a graceful performance aesthetic. Dance training may lead to dancers using one leg preferentially over the other(i.e. LE asymmetry). Little research has examined LE symmetry in dancers. We examined single-leg horizontal work, balance, and LE symmetry in female collegiate dancers and found  that lower extremity single-leg horizontal work and balance are symmetrical in healthy female collegiate dancers. 

 

 

2.          Why is it import to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?

 

 Over 50% of dancers’ landings involve a single leg. Dancers thus need adequate single-leg Lower Extremity(LE) horizontal work(i.e. horizontal hopping) and balance to perform these motions. Clinicians also often use performance on one leg as compared to the other to determine return-to-activity post injury(e.g.>85% performance on injured vs. non-injured leg).   Educators can design dance routines that require single-leg motions on either leg without worrying about whether female collegiate dancers’ single leg hops or balance differs across legs. Clinicians can also use uninjured leg’s hop and balance as baselines to determine return-to-activity values for the injured leg    

 

 

3.          What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work?  

 

Very relevant -  IADMS is a multi-disciplinary platform for all those interested in reducing injury risk and improving performance in dancers

 

 

4.          Personally, what is the importance of attending to IADMS annual conferences? 

 

 I enjoy meeting and learning from multi-disciplinary experts about how to reduce injury risk and improve performance in dancers  

 

 

5.          What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference?  

 

The Duels and the research presentations.

Tags:  Annual Conference  research 

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IADMS 2017 DUEL: Should dancers run?

Posted By IADMS Promotion Committee, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This year's Annual Conference will host a few IADMS DUELS!

Here, we will introduce you to the two duelists debating SHOULD DANCERS RUN?

 

Speaking for the AFFIRMATIVE:

Andrea Kozai, IADMS Development Committee Chair from Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Photographer: Amy Leipziger

1.      Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 27th IADMS Annual Conference?

I will be participating in a duel titled "Should dancers run?" I will be arguing that running is an excellent method of cross-conditioning that dancers need not fear. It can be safely added to most dancers' training regimens as long as attention is paid to certain principles. 

 

2.      Why is it import to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?  

In my research into this question, I came across many sources of inaccurate and fear-inducing information. There is a pervasive stereotype within the dance community that running is harmful for dancers; many worry that it will cause unsightly muscle bulk or lost flexibility, or is too high-impact. It is important for the dance sector to have a source of scientifically-based information from which to draw when making cross-training decisions, and IADMS fulfills this role beautifully.      

 

3.      What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work? 

The work of IADMS has influenced my personal dance practice, my understanding of the health needs of dancers, and my interest in conducting more research to bolster the knowledge that already exists.    

 

4.      Personally, what is the importance of attending to IADMS annual conferences? 

I currently chair the Development Committee, so it is very important to me to be able to meet with my colleagues in person whenever possible. But more than that, the friendships I have been able to develop, the phenomenal places in the world I've been able to visit, and the primordial soup of ideas that IADMS Annual Conferences continually provide mean I plan my year around attending.   

 

5.      What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference? 

There's a lot of great stuff this year! I'm looking forward to the many presentations about cross training, of course, but I think I'm most excited to see the session offered by Risa Steinberg on Friday. She is one of the best teachers I've had the good fortune to study with, and I think she will have some great ideas to share!

 

 

Speaking for the NEGATIVE:

Melanie Fuller, from Queensland University of Technology – Dance, Creative Industries Faculty, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Photographer: Cameron Shackell

1.      Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 27th IADMS Annual Conference?

I am presenting a systematic review on dancers’ susceptibility to injury when transitioning to full-time training and professional companies, and discussing this in relation to transitions in training load. I have also been invited to participate in a duel. It’s been great to explore a broader research base around my allocated side of the topic, “Should dancers run?” I think it’s useful to look outside of dance to see what evidence from other sports could inform our dance practices, not only to prevent injury, but also to promote performance. I believe the two can complement each other.

 

2.      Why is it important to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?

I want to explore ways to help dancers perform better, whilst reducing the risk of injury. If dancers are not having time off due to injury, it gives them more time to train hard and achieve new highs in their artistic (and athletic) development.

 

3.      What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work?

As a physiotherapist and PhD candidate, the IADMS conference, the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, and the wealth of IADMS resources inform my clinical practice, as well as shape my research questions and enthusiasm for dance.

 

4.      Personally, what is the importance of attending IADMS annual conferences?

I embrace the opportunity to develop ideas, and share experiences with colleagues from other parts of the world with a common passion for dance. I enjoy hearing practitioner’s intuitions, and researcher’s findings, to inform my practice in the context I work in. I often come away with new questions that inspire me to look for answers, and renew my eagerness to continue to better my work with dancers.

 

5.      What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference?

I am looking forward to hearing the many intriguing presentations I see on the schedule, but also meeting new colleagues, and catching up with old friends. In particular, I look forward to meeting the other presenters in the session I am presenting in, and discussing our common research interests.

Tags:  Annual Conference  cross-training  running 

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5 Conference Networking Tips

Posted By IADMS Student Committee, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Conferences—deceivingly pragmatic and academic in form—are nothing short of a whirlwind of emotions. For introverts, extroverts, and professed extroverted-introverts alike, conferences can be exhausting. Conceivably this is because conferences are often set up like the Fast and Furious version of a term in university, where it’s a mad dash to see how many notes you can scribble on a program booklet in a little over 72 hours. Yet perhaps this is because, at any one time, you are surrounded by people. A lot of people. But not just any people, magical people. These people are the people who are interested in the exact same things as you. So how are you going to talk to them?

 

As we approach the 27th Annual Conference for the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science in Houston, Texas, USA, the following are a few tips for networking that will hopefully help you feel invigorated by new friendships and meaningful connections:


1.    Plan your attack. Take a look at the conference program to get a feel of what’s happening when…and who will be where. This gives you a chance to make a (mental or physical) list of the sessions you’re interested in attending or the professionals you’re hoping to connect with. Once you have your list, do your research. You don’t have to conduct a full-fledged background check, but you should know enough about conference presenters, moderators, and attendees to easily strike up a conversation with them at any coffee break’s notice. (See the complete IADMS conference schedule here).


2.    Have something to offer. A business card, a bold elevator speech, a snazzy outfit—give the people you meet something to remember you by. Tossing people squares of paper may seem like an antiquated way of exchanging contact information, especially in our LinkedIn era, but a well-crafted business card could set you apart from the crowd. If you don’t have a tangible representation of who you are, leave a lasting impression with confidence and style. It may seem cheesy, but practice introducing yourself into a mirror (or other inanimate object of your choosing) before you enter the conference space. Fashion a few words that make succinct who you are and what you’re currently interested in, and while you’re at it, piece together your wardrobe strategically. A tie tessellated with your alma-mater’s insignia or an intricately jeweled brooch picked up on your travels across Scotland could be an easy identifier and a perfect conversation-starter.  


3.    Be the Question-Master. Questions are the functional spine of conferences, and for good reason. A well-crafted question that demonstrates deep understanding and genuine intrigue could spark the kind of dialogue gives rise to life-long research collaborations. However, divining a good question on the spot can be daunting. When all seems to fail or an awkward silence shrouds a conversation, have a list of ready questions to pull from. For example, what’s an opportunity they wish they would’ve taken, what advice they would give when working in ____, or what first made them interested in____.


4.    Remember: Everyone is human. Whether you’re a young mind or a seasoned professional, you’ve probably experienced the trepidation and anxiety that comes with approaching a person to strike up a conversation that may lead to an exchange of contacts. But despite the advice bestowed here, you don’t necessarily have to open up with a revolutionary, thought-provoking question or über-complimentary greeting. Sometimes, a simple “hi” and a smile will suffice. Even if you’re new to the conference scene, don’t underestimate the value of the knowledge you already have. Work with what you’ve got.


5.    Keep it fresh. Say your conversation did in fact lead to an exchange of contacts (hooray!), don’t let the opportunity pass. Try to send a follow-up “nice to meet you” email (or tweet or digital what-have-you) to those you hope to stay in contact with within 24 hours of meeting them. This ensures that you remain fresh in the contact’s mind and increases your likelihood for future communication.



Hopefully with these tips, you will be able make the most of your conference experience! Happy mingling!



Your Student Committee,
 
Siobhan, Andrea, Gabriel, Sutton, Madison, Carolyn, and Kali

 


Tags:  Annual Conference  students 

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Student Committee Conference Events and Introductions

Posted By IADMS Student Committee, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

With the IADMS Student Committee around the corner we would like to put a face to our Student Committee names, feel free to hello at the conference!

 

We would love to introduce ourselves to you in person, feel free to visit our presentations, or at registration.

 

Student Committee presentations:

 

Student and young professional networking workshop Thursday, October 12th 5:30pm-6:20p

 

Building your career: a panel discussion on avenues to careers in dance medicine and science Sunday, October 15th noon-12:30pm

 

Student Committee members:

 

Siobhan Mitchell

Siobhan trained as a dancer before going on to complete a BA Hons in Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton, an MSc in Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and an MRes in Health and Wellbeing at the University of Bath. Awarded a full ESRC studentship in 2014, Siobhan is currently in the final year of her PhD studies at the University of Bath. Her research interests are in growth and maturation; specifically, psychosocial implications of differing maturity timing in young dancers. Siobhan works as an associate lecturer and delivers educational sessions for dancers and dance teachers on the topic of growth and maturation. Siobhan has been a member of IADMS since 2011 and has been on the IADMS student committee since 2014.

Gabriel Carrion-Gonzales

Gabriel from Albuquerque, New Mexico, began dancing at the age of 8 years old soon expanding his ballet training to study at Walnut Center for the Arts, Miami City Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy for Classical Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Gabriel is now in his junior year of his undergraduate degree pursuing a double degree in biochemistry and psychology, with aims of being a sports medicine physician.

 

Carolyn Meder

Carolyn is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she grew up studying ballet at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. Carolyn is currently attending the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio as an athletic training major. After completing her undergraduate studies, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree and eventually land a job in the field of dance medicine as an athletic trainer.

 

Kali Taft

Kali is a senior at Texas A&M University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Dance Science under the direction of Christine S. Bergeron and Carisa Armstrong. Along with performing in numerous faculty and student pieces, Kali has performed in works by Third Rail Dance Theatre, Eisenhower Dance, Kathy Dunn Hamrick, Jesse Zaritt, Erica Gionfriddo and Jane Weiner. Kali is a member of the Dance Science Committee and has also collaborated in an Undergraduate Research Project entitled “DAFT Steady Increase Training Versus Plyometric High Intensity Interval Training on Cardiovascular Levels in Collegiate Dancers”. She presented this research in Norfolk, Virginia at the National Dance Society Conference (NDS) and will present it in Houston, Texas at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADAMS). After graduation Kali plans to start her own dance company and continue performing and creating work to perform around the world.

 

Madison McGrew

Madison is a Florida native and recent graduate of the University of South Florida with bachelor’s degrees in Dance Performance and Biomedical Sciences. In 2016, she set off to London to pursue at MSc in Dance Science as Trinity Laban's first US-UK Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar. Madison has been a member of IADMS for 2 years and is excited to now be a part of the Student Committee!

 

Additional Student Committee members not mentioned above: Sutton Anker and Andrea Alvarez.


Tags:  Annual Conference  students 

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Physiological perspectives on puberty in dance

Posted By Siobhan Mitchell on behalf of the IADMS Dance Educators’ Committee, Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In our last blog post, Siobhan focussed on the psychological perspectives on puberty in dance training and here follows our second post in the series, this time focussing on the physiological perspectives on puberty in dance.  These posts follow on from our busy season of Regional Meetings in Australia, USA and UK where the focus of much of our discussions at these events was on how we work with children and young people to optimise their training.  Siobhan presented her session at the Healthier Dancer Day on The Adolescent Dancer in Ipswich in May 2017.  

 

 As someone who works with young dancers, you will observe a range of physical changes as they go through puberty. The physical changes of puberty encompass increases in height and weight, changes in the accumulation and distribution of body fat and lean mass, development of a variety of secondary sexual characteristics (e.g. breast development) and shifts in body proportions.

 

 So what are the processes and what exactly is going on for young people at this time?

 

 Puberty is a hormonally driven process resulting in marked changes in physique, form, and function. This process of physical change results in the attainment of an adult state, capable of sexual reproduction. The sequence of these changes varies significantly between boys and girls. Girls tend to mature around 2 years in advance of boys and so will experience physical changes at an earlier age.

 

 Individuals of the same chronological age may vary by up to several years in terms of their biological maturation, so chronological age is not a good indicator of physical development at puberty. That said, the average time for the growth spurt to take place among non-dancers is around age 12 in girls and age 14 in boys and takes on average around 3 years from beginning to completion. This age is especially significant as it coincides with a time when most dancers commence more serious training, a greater number of hours of training each week, and take on new physical challenges in training e.g. pointe work. 

 

 Embed from Getty Images

 

Benefits and challenges

 

 Puberty presents both opportunity and challenge for young dancers. On one hand, dancers benefit from improvements in strength, motor skills, and the activation of new motivational tendencies.  On the other, sudden changes in size and shape can disrupt flexibility and co-ordination. These changes inevitably lead to young dancers struggling with movements which they are used to being able to perform, this can increase risk of physical injury and psychological effects such as loss of confidence, reduced motivation and increased self-consciousness.

 

 Challenges

 

 Challenges include

 

          Overall decrease in technical skill and control for both male and female dancers

          Rapid change in limb length may temporarily inhibit motor performance (awkwardness)

          Flexibility can be disrupted by growth of the lower extremities and the trunk during growth                        spurts and the skeletal system maturing in advance of soft tissues

          Relearning and re-programming technique to adjust to new biomechanical challenges, e.g.                      rapid change in limb length can result in reduced strength, power and flexibility, in addition                      to increased injury risk associated with adapting to these changes

          Factors such as temporary low bone mass and adjustment to new biomechanical challenges                     can coincide with increased intensity of dance training

          Overuse injuries (e.g., Osgood-Schlatters/Sever’s disease) and burnout more common

 

These changes will impact upon some of the core dance movements, for example, reduced strength and flexibility will result in lower leg extensions; reduced balance and coordination will affect pirouettes and balance positions; and as technical control decreases, risk of injury increases.

 

In addition, one of the biggest challenges, from a training perspective, are differences in the timing of puberty and how to accommodate these differences to optimise wellbeing and training. Pubertal timing refers to the when pubertal changes, such as the onset of menstruation for girls, occur. The timing of puberty can differ by up to 5 years, a huge interval compared to other animal species – only humans and primates have such huge differences in timing. This means that individuals of the same chronological age can vary in biological age (pubertal timing) by up to 5 years, which has implications for training, talent identification and evaluation. For dance educators, such variation in development is a huge challenge and there is currently little understanding of how this variation impacts upon young dancers and how we can consider this in our approaches to training.

 

Benefits

 

          Accelerated gains in strength, power, speed, agility, and endurance in males; steady gains or                   plateaus in females

          Improvements in motor performance and physical health

 

Sex differences in relation to physical performance can be attributed to relatively greater body fat in girls (this essential body fat enables normal hormonal functions and reproductive capability) and greater absolute and relative leanness in boys, which exert opposite effects on performance. The former has a negative effect on most motor performance tasks and the latter has a positive effect, attributed to increase in size and muscle tissue. For male dancers these changes may be especially advantageous, enabling greater power and strength for grand allegro movements and could be emphasised during this period. While for female dancers, some will be at their peak strength and motor performance, benefitting their dance performance, and for others who experience a ‘levelling-off’ in strength and motor performance, encouragement may be needed to develop these aspects. With this in mind, both male and female students can benefit from developing their strength during this period of time.

 

Top tips for negotiating some of these challenges and making the most of the benefits

 

- Remember it’s temporary! Raise awareness amongst dancers and their parents about the normal and temporary changes associated with maturation

 

- Focus time and attention towards aspects other than technique which may progress more slowly during this time, such as musicality, performance and strengthening. This can help students to build confidence and make progress in other areas

 

- Be proactive in how you negotiate changes - Consider how you can support young dancers at this time – perhaps modify the content or environment of your classes, with consideration of the dancer as an individual (where possible)

 

- Reduce the stigma - Emphasise the beneficial aspects of puberty and raise awareness of these aspects to parents and students

 

- Focus on how movements feel as opposed to how they look during this time, to reduce training load and adapt exercises for students experiencing their most rapid periods of growth. In addition, training without the use of the mirror may be beneficial at this time.

 

- Promote maintenance of flexibility - Flexibility is most responsive to training during childhood and as a dance teacher this is the ideal stage of development in which to promote this attribute. Due to an asynchrony between skeletal and soft tissue growth at adolescence, flexibility can be disrupted, during this period the focus can be shifted to maintaining flexibility rather than promoting it.

 

 

Siobhan trained as a dancer before going on to complete a BA Hons in Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton, an MSc in Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and an MRes in Health and Wellbeing at the University of Bath. Awarded a full ESRC studentship in 2014, Siobhan is currently in the final year of her PhD studies at the University of Bath. Her research interests are in growth and maturation, specifically, psychosocial implications of differing maturity timing in young dancers. Siobhan works as an associate lecturer and also delivers educational sessions for dancers and dance teachers on the topic of growth and maturation. Siobhan has been a member of IADMS since 2011, has been on the IADMS student committee since 2014 and is the current Student Committee Chair. Siobhan has presented at a number of international conferences including IADMS Conferences in Seattle and Pittsburgh, the IADMS regional meeting in Ipswich, the Royal Academy of Dance Conference ‘Dance Teaching for the 21st Century: Practice and Innovation’ in Sydney, Australia and the British Psychological Society Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference, Aberystwyth, UK. Siobhan has published work in academic journals including the Journal of Adolescence and the Journal of Sports Sciences and was recently shortlisted as a finalist for the Ede and Ravenscroft prize for best postgraduate research student at the University of Bath.


 

References

Daniels, K., Rist, R., & Rijven, M. (2001). The Challenge of the Adolescent Dancer. Journal of Dance Education, 1(2), 74-76. doi: 10.1080/15290824.2001.10387180

 

Malina, R.M. (2014). Top 10 Research Questions Related to Growth and Maturation of Relevance to Physical Activity, Performance, and Fitness. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 85, 157-173.

 

Malina, R. M., Bouchard, C., & Bar-Or, O. (2004). Growth, Maturation and Physical Activity (Second Edition ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

 

Steinberg, N., Siev-Ner, I., Peleg, S., Dar, G., Masharawi, Y., & Hershkovitz, I. (2008). Growth and development of female dancers aged 8-16 years. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 20(3), 299-307. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20718

 

Tanchev, P. I., Dzherov, A. D., Parushev, A. D., Dikov, D. M., & Todorov, M. B. (2000). Scoliosis in rhythmic gymnasts. Spine, 25(11), 1367-1372. doi: 10.1097/00007632-200006010-00008

 

Podcast on growth and maturation in sport

 

Tags:  dancers  psychology  puberty  teachers 

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