What is Dance Medicine and Science?

Medicine is the science and art of preventing and alleviating or curing disease. Dance medicine and science is the application of that realm to the specific life and body of the dancer. As a discipline it investigates the causes of dance injuries, promotes their care, prevention and safe post-rehabilitation return to dance, and explores the ‘how’ of dance movement. Some specific concerns include the biomechanical, physiological, and neuromotor aspects of dance, nutrition, psychological issues, and the body therapies and somatics area.

The training and self-discipline necessary for the individual to become a dancer are potential sources of physical and emotional strain that may result in temporary or extended disability. The performance of dance, in whatever form, can result in physical injury that may be acute or chronic due to overuse. Prevention of injury/illness is the concern of the educator and health care practitioner involved in dance medicine and science. Preventive recommendations are based upon:

1. The results of scientific analysis of dance technique and its impact on intensity of teaching, rehearsing and performing.

2. The results of clinical studies which examine the mechanisms and course of injury rehabilitation and movement re-education.

When injury or other related disability has occurred in the dancer, rational rehabilitative techniques based on these recommendations make return to and continuation of dance possible.
 

Definition of Dance Medicine and Science provided by the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (www.iadms.org). Text cited from the Dance Medicine Resource Guide, Second Edition, J. Michael Ryan Publishing, Inc. Written and edited by Marshall Hagins, PhD, PT.

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