Safe Dance Practices

2384 Words Jul 17th, 2008 10 Pages
Safe Dance Practices
Dance is an art form in which the body is the instrument of expression. When it comes to seeking movement perfection, no physical endeavour can compare with dance. Arnheim, 1991 p. 3

A recent study by medical researchers, of over sixty different athletic activities, ranked ballet second to only football in terms of physical, mental and environmental demands.

Today’s teacher of dance has an integral role to play in both creating a safe environment for dance education to take place, and ensuring the knowledge, skill and attitudinal development necessary for healthy dancers. The Australian Code of Ethics for Dance Teachers, emphasises a safe dance environment in which, both studio principals and individual teacher
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With any surface it is imperative to keep it clean, smooth and free from irregularities or imperfections that may cause the dancer to slip or trip. Ryan, 1988 page 117

Shin splints are one of the most common injuries sustained by dancers. They refer to “the microscopic pulling of muscle fibres away from the bone where the belly of the muscle attaches directly to the bone.” (NSW HSC on line Dance ) There are many situations, which can cause shin splints. The shock force of jumping and landing on hard surfaces and repetitive use of the foot flexors on hard surfaces can be a contributing factor. This has special significance for the adolescent dancer. It is a good idea to “Reduce the amount of impact work in the jump sections and especially jumps repeated on one leg at the end of class.” (Rist, 1999 as cited RAD Module Study Guide p. 51)
It is sometimes said that shin splints occur when we ask more from the muscle than it can give. If left untreated, pain progressively gets worse, can be constant and a stress fracture may occur. When the muscles and tendons become fatigued and overloaded, they lose their ability to adequately absorb the damaging shock force. “It is most apt to occur when a dancer is beginning to dance or resuming dance after a long layoff.” (Ryan, 1988, p. 145) There are also biomechanical causes that contribute to shin splints, such as flat feet and over-pronation, causing the tibia to twist, which in-turn, over stretches the
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