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5 Questions with Susanna Piculell

Posted By IADMS Student Committee, Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This month's featured member is Susanna Piculell of University College London. Susanna is a physiotherapist specialising in dance medicine. Her areas of interest include injury prevention, preseason functional screenings, periodization for dancers and performance psychology.


-How did you first get interested in dance science/medicine?

I’ve always been fascinated by dance, both as a spectator and a performer. Nevertheless, I felt pretty early that the performing artist profession was not for me, so I decided to approach the field from another angle by combining my dance, exercise and health interests. Thus, I decided to become a physiotherapist and specialize in dance medicine. 

-Are you currently participating in research? Can you give us your elevator pitch about your research area?

My MSc research proposal is on-going and due to be finished in September 2015. The aim of the study is to investigate whether there is a correlation between two preseason tests (knee to wall and single leg calf capacity) and subsequent injury to feet and ankle in professional ballet dancers. This is to gain a little further understanding of possible underlying factors behind these, far too common, ballet injuries and what kind of preseason tests are worthwhile to include. I see it as a small step that can lead on to future studies, new questions and new pointers.



-Which Annual Meeting has been your favourite so far and why?

I have only been to one, but the 21st Annual Meeting was wonderful. It was my first international gathering with other people like me, “dance nerds,” who also possess a fascination and enthusiasm to optimize dance performance.

-In which ways has IADMS helped you grow in your field of study?
Particularly after my BSc graduation in 2011, the JDMS has been very important to keep me updated on the progress of dance medicine. I also see IADMS as an essential source for networking, the world of dance medicine is still rather small and we need to collaborate and share our knowledge to keep on moving forward.

-What would you say to a student thinking of joining IADMS?

Do it! Especially now when you’re a student, not only because it is cheaper but also because now you might be needing it the most, in terms of career advice, access to literature and networking.



If you’re interested in the Student Committee and its initiatives, contact us at

Special thanks to the “5 Questions With...” Sub-committee, Andrea Alvarez and Siobhan Mitchell.

Tags:  5 Questions With  perspective  physiotherapy 

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5 Questions with Claire Low

Posted By IADMS Student Committee, Monday, February 9, 2015

The Student Committee would like to introduce “5 Questions With…” a column designed to give students an opportunity to share something about themselves, their research, and their involvement with the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS). Our first featured member is Claire Low, recipient of the Student Research Award in 2014 at the 24th Annual Meeting in Basel, Switzerland. She graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University and is currently a physiotherapist at Singapore General Hospital. Her areas of interest include dance injury, injury prevention, and Pilates for dancers.


-How did you first get interested in dance science/medicine?

My love for dance started early; I was in baby ballet by the time I was 3 years old. Over the years of training, I realized that I was restricted and had difficulty executing a number movements such as turn out. My dream to continue classical ballet was dashed when an examiner told my dance teacher that I was not a suitable candidate during one of the vocational examinations. Heartbroken, I went to the local library to do research on why my body was "different." It was then I stumbled upon Karen Clippinger's book "Dance Anatomy & Physiology." I learned that my physical limitations were structural and not because I did not work hard enough. Where I trained, anatomy is usually not taught or explained during dance class. There also are not any screening protocols to assist teachers and students in assessing their functional capabilities before pursuing dance. It was then at 14 years old that I decided to pursue a career in physiotherapy, which would allow me to work with dancers to promote understanding about their own bodies and prevent dance injuries through education. 


-Are you currently participating in research? Can you give us your elevator pitch about your research area?

I am currently working on writing up a publication of my research "Effects of supplemental training on fitness parameters in dancers: A Critical Review and Meta-analysis," which was presented at the Annual Meeting. The review aims to update dancers and practitioners about what current studies recommend on the type and duration of supplemental exercise, versus normal dance training, in improving fitness parameters like muscle strength and endurance capacity in ballet, contemporary, and modern dancers.


-What is the best thing about being a student member of IADMS?

Having access to the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science at a reduced rate! It helped me a lot with my dissertation, as most of the articles I used were published in JDMS and my university did not subscribe to it.


-What has been your favorite IADMS experience?

Meeting the authors of my critical review in person at the Annual Meeting.


-What would you say to a student thinking of joining IADMS?

Don't hesitate to join! Use the resources, especially JDMS, to broaden your knowledge. You also get to attend the Annual Meetings at discounted rates, which allows you meet other like-minded students as well as network with lecturers in the dance community. 


If you’re interested in the Student Committee and it’s initiatives, contact us at Special thanks to the “5 Questions With” sub-committee, Andrea Alvarez and Siobhan Mitchell. 

Tags:  5 Questions With  perspective  physiotherapy  students 

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Physiotherapy with the heart of a dancer – a personal history

Posted By Dinah Hampson, Monday, February 9, 2015

When I was five, I saw my first full-length ballet and fell in love.  I begged for lessons and studied dance for the next ten years.  Despite passion, talent and training I didn’t have the physical facility for a career on the stage and I chose a different path.  Ballet is defined as an artistic dance form performed to music using precise and highly formalized set steps and gestures.  I assumed my years of studio time were forgotten when university led me to a career in physiotherapy.  Physiotherapy is defined as the art and science underlying movement and function, whereby physiotherapists make clinical judgments and apply their skills to develop a patient’s functional abilities.  So in reality, the years of studio time were not forgotten, but rather formed a strong foundation on which I built my physiotherapy skills.

On reflection, I think that sharing this relationship is important for people interested in dance science for two reasons: 1) Physiotherapists with a dance background benefit their patients by truly understanding movement.  This is important for recognizing subtle alterations in normal movement, changes in motor patterns and compensatory muscle activity.  If left unaddressed, these subtle changes in movement are risk factors for delayed recovery and future injury.  I understand now that the years of practicing precise technique created an eye for alignment, symmetry, cadence and balance.  Without internalizing the rhythm and movement of ballet, my understanding of human movement and function would be less. 2) Secondly, I think it is important for dancers passionate about movement to understand that their skill set is valuable and transferable outside the studio.  Of the thousands of children who study dance, few will ultimately end up in a professional dance career and of those who do, few of those careers will last.  The average duration of a professional dance career is 15 years with many dancers stopping for health related issues.  Given age is not usually the limiting factor in ending a dance career I think it is important for dancers to understand that Physiotherapy is definitely a viable career option for which dance training is an asset.

IADMS forms a perfect environment for all people interested in dance, movement and science to network and share experience.  I would encourage any dancer interested to contact me or any other physiotherapist to explore the profession and recognize the value that ballet training brings to the art of science.


1. Google search for ‘Ballet’. Available here.

2. The heart of the physiotherapy profession. Canadian Physiotherapy Association, 2012. Available here.

3. Transitioning from a professional dance career. Centre for arts and cultural policy studies, Princeton University. Available here.

Dinah Hampson BA, BScPT, FCAMT
Diploma of Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy
Diploma of Sport Physiotherapy
Owner Pivot Sport Medicine and Orthopaedics, Toronto ON Canada

Tags:  perspective  physiotherapy  practitioner 

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