This new infosheet produced from a collaboration between The Healthier Dancer programme and Foundations for Excellence is a welcome addition to the existing information that is available about joint hypermobility. On one hand, joint hypermobility is loved because it allows greater than the average range of movement in the joint. On the other hand, hypermobility in dancers needs careful attention and support when training to realise potential and also avoid injury.
Dancers need a good sense of body awareness to feel or know where their body is in space so they can accurately place arm, foot, leg and whole body positions. They need to navigate around other dancers without bumping into them.
In my competitive days, (a very long time ago), it took a long time to master the art of backstepping in Highland dancing. The aim was to perform a very smooth backstepping action with all required positions reached at the right time. Backstepping back then truly was a magnificent step to watch and a very demanding one to perform well. But it was worth the effort it took to achieve some of the smoothest backsteps in town. When I see backsteps being danced today, I feel uncomfortable. Instead of a lovely smooth action, today’s backsteps are danced with such a staccato, jerky action that they no longer look like backsteps at all. And they do not have the aesthetic quality of the backsteps danced in my day.
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.
I received a link to an online article that grabbed my attention as it discusses eating disorders in ballet companies and the perils of discussing it openly.