Free dance specific healthcare for dancers

On Monday evening (30 april 2012), after the conference on nutrition and disordered eating in dance, I was one of over 200 dance professionals celebrating the launch of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS). The aims of NIDMS include providing all dancers access to high quality, evidence-based, dance specific healthcare and dance science services.

So what is NIDMS?

NIDMS is the result of a visionary partnership between six major dance organisation, universities and a hospital including Dance UK, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, University of Wolverhampton, University of Birmingham and the National Orthopaedic Hospital. Together these institutions employ world leading experts in dance medicine and science, research, education and treatment.

At the launch we enjoyed presentations from the partners about NIDMS vision and achievements. And we watched a video about the clinical services at a specialist dancers’ health clinic at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital next to Great Portland Street station in London. As it is embedded in the NHS, it is free to dancers who will be referred via their GP. This is a major breakthrough in the provision of dancer healthcare in the UK. And the fact that dancers can access it free is fantastic. Although this initial clinic is based in London the aim is to raise further funds to support the creation of similar services where there are concentrations of dancers across the UK, over the next five years.

The creation of NIDMS has been made possible by major donations by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and British Harlequin plc, with generous support from the Society of London Theatres and Theatrical Management Association, and Trinity College London. Many donations have also come from members of the dance industry. Fundraising is clearly going to be a major activity in the years to come to enable NIDMS’s vision to be realised and sustained.

What an amazing development for dancer healthcare – fast, free access to specialist care. NIDMS is something that has been dreamed of for many years – let’s appreciate what it has achieved and look to the future when it can realise its vision to provide these services to dancers across the UK.

Visit the NIDMS site for current information and to find out how to access services.