Term Paper: Dance Injury Prevention and Overall Level

Pages: 3 (935 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Sports  ·  Buy This Paper


Injury prevention and overall level of health and fitness often play a back seat role for dancers. In the effort to perfect their art, dancers focus on specific types of movements, techniques, and exercises over others. Specifically, exercises that can improve bone integrity, increase muscular strength, improve general aerobic fitness, and improve muscular endurance can help dancers avoid injuries. Injuries in dancers are common, affecting ballet dancers at least once per year (Twitchett, et al., 2010). For professional dancers, injury can upset careers; for all dancers, injuries can lead to poor health outcomes. Therefore, it is important to review literature on how to optimize the health and fitness of dancers.

The causes of injury are diverse, and depend on the type of dance, the individual's body type, the individual's psychological makeup, the quality of instruction, intensity of practice, past medical history, nutrient intake, body fat percentage, and temporary stressors. It is impossible to devise a universal approach to injury prevention, but there are some key elements of injury prevention that are specific to dancers and universal in scope. Those injury prevention keys are rooted in sports medicine, which can inform evidence-based practice in formal dance instruction.

Twitchett, et al. (2010) found that low aerobic fitness and body fat were two variables significantly correlated with injury frequency and duration. Excessive thinness and an obsessive approach to specific movements may hinder the dancer's long-range capabilities as a professional. While it is understandable that dancers will need to focus intensely on specific roles at certain times for their career, those performances should ideally be supplemented by general exercise and nutrition regimes that foster overall health and well-being. Dancers who supplement their work with other types of movement that improve cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness may help increase the longevity of their careers. Likewise, dancers who can more easily maintain a physique that is aesthetically appropriate without becoming underweight will also be better suited for long-range health as a dancer.

As Koutedakis, Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou & Metsios (2005) note, it is not only excessive thinness that is an aesthetic ideal for some dancers, but also a lack of muscularity. Yet muscularity promotes health and prevents injury. The researchers found that dancers who supplement with strength training exercises are less prone to injury, and can even lead to "better dancing" because of the improved conditioning of their bodies (Koutedakis, Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou & Metsios, 2005, p. 29). Strength training need not interfere with aesthetics. Moreover, Koutedakis, Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou & Metsios (2005) point out that muscular strength training does not adversely impact flexibility, another common concern with dancers and their trainers. If dancers and trainers understood that evidence supports the use of both aerobic exercise and strength training as effective methods of preventing injury, perhaps these types of activities can supplement dance regimens.

Modern dancers may rely… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Dance Injury Prevention and Overall Level."  Essaytown.com.  November 18, 2014.  Accessed August 20, 2019.