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    Injuries in professional dancing

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    Dance is a physically demanding sport and art form. Dancers are considered not only performers but athletes as well due to the flexibility, strength, and power needed to perform. Because it is such a high-intensity sport, dancers are often injured. Injury can be fatal to a professional dancing career. As more studies are conducted about this topic hopefully the knowledge can lead to reduced injury occurrence.

    This essay will explore different attributes of dance-related injury for pre-professional and professional dancers in the styles of ballet and modern. Most dancers typically begin their dance education very young, some even as young as two or three years old. An evident passion and talent for dance inspires some children to enroll in ballet schools, which exist so that children can begin training seriously at a young age.

    Children attend these schools with the hope of becoming professional dancers someday, and they work hard to achieve their goals. For this reason, these dancers are considered pre-professional as the goal is that they’ll work in a professional company at some point. The students work similar hours to professionals, anywhere in the range of 6-45 hours a week, depending on age and skill, to replicate the demands of a professional company (Caine, Goodwin, Caine, & Bergeron, 2015).

    Due to the high demands of these specialized programs, pre-professional dancers experience injuries comparable to those of professionals. It was discovered that 41.2-77% of surveyed participants experienced an injury at least once during the duration of the study, with the most common injuries among pre-professionals being strains, sprains, and overuse injuries (Caine et al., 2015). Overuse injuries are commonly seen amongst professional dancers as well.

    According to a 10-year study of a single professional dance company, 76% of all injuries that occurred were due to overuse (Ramkumar, Farber, Arnouk, Varner, & McCulloch, 2016). This is shocking because overuse injuries are mostly preventable. A possible solution to this dilemma is the theory that early injury detection and intervention would be an effective way to reduce injury occurrence, although more research would be needed to establish the validity (Caine et al., 2015; Jacobs, 2017).

    By determining ways to reduce or prevent injury, pre-professional and professional dancers would not have to take time off or alter their training to nurse an injury. In addition, dance companies that provide medical care and/or insurance for their dancers wouldn’t have to pay the fees associated with the medical care of a serious injury.

    Injury reduction would lead to an overall healthier corps of dancers, thus the companies would have a more significant repertoire, and potentially extending their careers. Due to the nature of dance, most of the pressure is placed on the feet; more so than any other appendage. Foot injuries are most common, particularly sprains and strains (Caine et al., 2015; Ramkumar et al., 2016). These particular injuries can also be a result of overuse.

    In addition, the greater the number of years a dancer has been dancing and their professional rank can influence the risk of injury (Jacobs, 2017). It has become accepted that injury and pain is just an aspect of a professional dance career. One study concluded that almost 25% of professional dancers experience some type of persistent injury, and unfortunately, many dancers disregard the pain in their bodies (Jacobs, 2017). An injury can mean the end of a dancer’s career, so some dancers fail to report an injury in the hope that it will resolve on its own. One study of professional ballet and modern dance companies found that 15% of dancers don’t report their injuries (Jacobs, 2017).

    This can be for a variety of reasons such as the pain is manageable, fear of role and/or job loss, dancers didn’t want to stop dancing during the time of recovery, etc. It appears that, at least for the time being, injury is a normal part of the lives of pre-professional and professional dancers. Most commonly, injuries affecting the feet, which include various strains and sprains are the most prevalent. Although it is accepted that injury is par for the course when it comes to dancing, this shouldn’t be the norm.

    As more research emerges, it will hopefully provide additional preventative measures to help keep dancers of the elite level healthy, whether professional or pre-professional. By limiting/preventing injury, dancers should, theoretically, have longer careers, thereby allowing dancers to continue doing what they love, which makes this research truly meaningful.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Injuries in professional dancing. (2022, Dec 22). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/injuries-in-professional-dancing/

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