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Student – FAQs

What are the benefits of joining IADMS for students?

The dance medicine and science community is ever expanding and contains a diverse range of enthusiastic individuals. The primary benefit of joining IADMS is to become a part of that community. For students, this can enrich your study of the field and open doors to future career pathways. Full-time students and trainees are entitled to discounted membership and annual meeting registration fees; this discount also extends into your first year post-graduation.

As a member of IADMS you will benefit from:

  • Interacting with all members of the IADMS community by accessing the "Members Only” areas of the IADMS website (participating in discussion forums, creating your own pages and favorites, connecting with other members, etc.)
  • Accessing the IADMS membership directory where you can find contact details for other IADMS member
  • Receiving online access to the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, as well as a print copy
  • Receiving the IADMS Newsletter (quarterly)
  • Receiving discounts on IADMS Annual Meeting registration
  • Receiving discounted rates on your purchases of the Dance Medicine and Science Bibliography, Annual Meeting Proceedings, Annual Meeting Abstract Books, and Dance Medicine and Science Posters

Click here for more information on how to become a member.

What different types of professionals are members of IADMS?

IADMS is composed of professionals with extremely diverse backgrounds. Members include dancers, dance teachers, athletic trainers, physiotherapists/physical therapists, physicians, surgeons, osteopaths, psychologists, dieticians/nutritionists, research specialists, and anyone else interested in the field of dance medicine and science.

How can I learn more about the dance medicine and science field?

The best way to learn about the dance medicine and science field is to talk with as many professionals in the field as possible! Since there are few formal education programs designed to prepare you for a career in dance medicine and science (depending on your specific goals), you will often have to create your own educational pathway. Reaching out and networking with individuals whose work you have read (and asking them about how they got started in the field and what their experiences have been like) is a great way to learn. Becoming a member of IADMS is an excellent way to open up these networking opportunities.

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How much education (undergraduate, graduate) do you need to work in the dance medicine and science field?

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to this question, as the dance medicine and science field is very diverse and includes a range of disciplines, each with their own educational and experiential requirements. Prerequisites for post-graduate education will also vary internationally.

Reflecting this, there are a wide range of educational opportunities available. The Educational Opportunities in Dance Medicine and Science document is maintained by the IADMS Student Committee and is the place to start if you are looking for a further specific undergraduate or post-graduate degree, a work experience placement, an internship, a clinical placement, or mentorship schemes.

One might define education by the resulting career aspirations:

  • Clinical specialties such as sports/dance medicine physician, orthopaedic surgeon, physical therapist/physiotherapist, osteopath, athletic trainer, psychologist, etc. require rigorous training and attainment of specific qualifications in order to become certified as a practitioner. This often entails both undergraduate and post-graduate study, as well as completing clinical internships, residencies or fellowships. These qualifications will also vary greatly depending on country.
  • Practitioner specialties such as pilates instructor, personal trainer, and strength/conditioning coach require completion of training and certification from professional bodies is required. However, higher education qualifications may not be required.
  • For careers in education, requirements will depend on the level you wish to teach. To work as a lecturer or professor in most universities you will require a terminal degree; i.e., an MFA or PhD. However, to work in dance instruction, perhaps with a company, a school, or a community project, then professional body qualifications may be required.

It is also worth noting that having post-graduate qualifications in dance medicine and science (e.g., an MSc in Dance Science) may not lead to one specific career path, but could enable you to progress your own knowledge and feed into any of the careers mentioned above.

What is the best way to gain experience in dance medicine and science?

Dance medicine and science is a relatively new field and is constantly evolving. The best way to gain experience is to find an area that you think you may be interested in and approach an organization or individual to see if they would be open to you volunteering or shadowing. If you don’t know what particular area of the dance medicine and science field you’re interested in, try to spend time with a variety of professionals, such as researchers, dance instructors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, physicians, etc. to see what you enjoy. Sometimes it is just as valuable to know what area you’re not interested in as it is to discover what you are interested in. Established professionals typically enjoy meeting enthusiastic students who show an interest in their field. Remember, volunteering can sometimes turn into work experience, help open new doors, and create networking opportunities.

How do I "specialize” in dance medicine and science?

There isn't a clear way to specialize in dance medicine and science; the concentration is an accumulation of education and experiences sought out by the individual. It’s important to recognize how one could or would want to contribute to dancer health and well-being, which will help define a career path.

Some opportunities to "specialize”:

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Where can I get more information about mentorship?

Dance medicine and science is a broad field that is comprised of many different areas of interest and a variety of unique careers. Finding a mentor, or multiple mentors, is an excellent way to learn more about a particular area and a great way to start down a career path. Individuals working in the dance medicine and science field are generally very passionate about their field of work and love to talk about it, especially with people who share their passion and interest. So, if you find someone who you would like to learn more from, don’t be afraid to just ask them if they’d be willing to talk with you or let you observe their work. As long as you show a genuine interest in what they are doing and build a positive relationship with them, you never know who they may introduce you to or what connections you may make. Although IADMS does not have a mentorship program in place, many of the members love talking with curious students who are passionate about dance medicine and science!

What is the IADMS Annual Meeting like for a student and what can I gain from the experience?

As a student, your first time attending an IADMS Annual Meeting can be exciting, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming. However, it is an incredibly rewarding experience and can, above all, provide clarity and inspiration for your future goals.

There is always a full program containing a variety of opportunities. Each day you have a choice of attending parallel oral (lecture) presentations and movement sessions. Each oral presentation session usually consists of five or six separate presentations following one topic area, such as psychology, physiology and fitness, injury incidence, injury rehabilitation, education and pedagogy, biomechanics and kinesiology, etc. There is great benefit from attending sessions on your personal specialty area to get involved in discussions following presentations and to learn the latest developments and ideas. However, there is also great benefit from attending sessions about which you may know little to gain an appreciation of the different areas of work within dance medicine and science and to broaden your knowledge. Poster presentations offer a unique opportunity to talk one-on-one with the researcher while seeing a summary of their work. Movement sessions allow first-hand experience of an idea or concept in the development of teaching and training of dancers.

As with lots of things in life, you will get as much out of the meeting as you put in. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to present but you should definitely try to attend a variety of sessions and, most importantly, speak to as many different people as you can.

The program allows plenty of time for networking, with regular coffee breaks and events such as the welcome reception. Approaching an individual whose work you have followed, read, referenced, and admired is always going to be daunting; however, making a connection with that person may open doors, answer questions, and guide your future pathway. There is also huge potential benefit to networking with other students; you may find someone who shares your research interests and could become your future research partner. You might find someone who can introduce you to their contacts or who knows of a work experience opportunity that would be perfect for you. To help facilitate networking and to help you get the most from your attendance, the Student Committee also puts on events such as socials, advice sessions on a variety of topics, round-table discussion groups, and networking workshops. The Student Committee is also available throughout the meeting to answer any questions that you may have.

How can students get involved with IADMS?

Students who become members of IADMS gain access to a network of professionals involved in the field of dance medicine and science. Access to IADMS communications and online discussion forums can help foster communication with others in the field. Students also have the opportunity to attend the IADMS Annual Meetings, where they can meet and interact with professionals face-to-face. There are also sessions and events at the annual meeting aimed directly to students. The Student Committee is another great avenue for involvement; students may apply to join the Student Committee and work with a group of students to provide information and opportunities for the student dance medicine and science community.

Is there funding (grants, scholarships) available for dance medicine and science students?

Funding availability for studying, researching, and expanding professional practice will largely vary depending on geographical location. If you have a particular institution in mind, the best way to investigate funding to support your further study might be to talk to the admissions/administration department or a faculty member at that institution. You can ask them if any scholarships, grants, or 'bursaries' are open for students to apply for, and gather as much information as you can about what they look for in successful applicants.

When considering PhD study, it is worth looking for advertised PhD scholarships or what is known in the UK as 'studentships.' These positions are highly sought after because they often include a stipend for completing your PhD work, sometimes as part of a larger, funded research project. These posts will be advertised by universities in the same way as jobs would be advertised. Check the web pages of individual institutions or check higher education job websites (do a web search for 'PhD scholarships' and the country of interest, or 'studentships' in the UK).

IADMS offers two programs to support the presentation of student research at the IADMS Annual Meeting, administered by the Research Committee. For information please click here.

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