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IADMS 2018 Helsinki: Interview with Invited Speaker - Fay Nenander

Posted By IADMS Promotion Committee, Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Photographer: Hakon Larsson


1.     Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 28th IADMS Annual Conference (#IADMS2018)?


 Within the framework of the ‘Macro-perspectives on dance teaching’ my theme – the importance of mental training and life-style skills – will hopefully help to illuminate the significance of giving the student dancer the necessary skills for acquisition of the “mind-set” needed by a successful professional dancer. This includes both mental training and life-style skills. However, I shall emphasize that this is not just important for the student dancer, but for all 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?


 If the student  - or the professional - dancer is to realize their artistic potential, then they must have control not only over their bodies, but also their minds. Information on the importance of the mind, whilst readily available both through professional expertise and research, is often sadly neglected within the profession – both at the student and professional dancer level. At the student level, amongst much else, mental training skills enable coping with a challenging milieu and unfamiliar demands. Life-style skills and knowledge help in adapting to what often is a completely unfamiliar way of life.


 Implications would hopefully be the creation of a change in the prevalent attitude regarding the relative importance of bodily technique and mental health: A new, twenty-first century attitude, where the dancer’s well-being is not just an empty promise and a few hours of mental training if you are lucky, but where mental well-being is seen as an integral part of dance training. Without the brain on board, the technique is useless.


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


 I have been an IADMS member for nearly 20 years and in that time have seen IADMS grow from very small, rather “closed circle” beginnings, to an organization which now truly represents the dance world. I have also seen the change in attitude amongst dancers and professionals who, twenty years ago, often regarded dance medicine and science as something on the periphery – rather eccentric – and who today increasingly appreciate all it can offer in practical knowledge and help.


 I also strongly believe that constant curiosity and renewal are essential in our profession. Of course, this is true in all professions – but perhaps especially within dance where both positive and negative traditional values are so entrenched – and where it is so easy to lean back on “how it has always been done”. The IADMS conferences certainly supply the stimulation necessary to combat such complacency.


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




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


Stimulation, new information, meeting old friends and making new ones: Experiencing the changes which have taken place since Hong Kong (my last conference).


6.     How will your presentation help dance educators to apply research with students and participants in the classroom?


 Hopefully, it will inspire and stimulate them to find out about my themes for themselves and then apply the information in the classroom – to make the importance of mental training and life-style skills visible within their everyday teaching.


 I hope also that dance educators will realize that they themselves can learn and benefit from the same skills as their students need.


 Perhaps most important, I hope it will encourage those who plan schedules, to give adequate time for - and importance to – mental training and life-skills information. These are not extras – they are essentials – and should be given the necessary time in the curriculum and taught by experts.



Tags:  Annual Conference 

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