In this next issue I have commissioned specialists to talk about some serious issues facing our young dancers today.The first, which has made headlines around the world as a result of Lara Spencer’s comments on Good Morning America, is about boys who choose to dance and why they are still being bullied. Doug Riser, Professor of Dance at Wayne University conducted a study and concluded that over 96% of boys who choose to dance are bullied. Our in-house clinical psychologist, Dr. Kate Fennessy talks about this in our latest issue. Apart from this extremely high statistic the thing that also gave me pause was the fact that bullying is not always name calling, many of our dancing boys are ostracised by their peers, ignored, left alone and this type of bullying is extremely damaging for our young boys development.The second topic is about teachers asking young dancers to wear weight cuffs whilst doing ballistic exercises, kicks and jumps in particular. I was quite mortified when I spoke with a young dancer, at just 10 years of age, who hurt her back as a result of her teacher insisting she wear weight cuffs. I approached Physiotherapist and Pilates expert, Joanne Maskery of InSync Physiotherapy and Pilates to talk to us about why this should NEVER happen. I even reached out to the teacher who I know does this practice arming her with the information to stop teaching in this way. She did not reply. Every issue I dedicate a very large portion of space to dancers health. With an exceptional team of health care professionals I am able to give dancers very specific advice about injury, how and why they may occur, strengthening exercises to assist in strong supple bodies and mental health articles to assist with the very unique demands placed on our young people. This issue, our resident physiotherapist Katie Godwin from Kinetica Physiotherapy gives 3 very good exercises for Psoas strengthening, deep external rotator strengthening, adductor magnus strengthening and two exercises for releasing muscles to help restore balance in the hip joint. Michael Bellantoni, APA Sports Physiotherapist from Southside Physiotherapy Canberra talks about flexibility. Jocelyn Penna, Sports Psychologist from Focus Performance talks about how to navigate the many aspects of competition, in class, in a company and in competitions. Marina Bull from Marina’s Remedial Massage joins our team this year and she is a dance massage therapist. She has helped many dancers not only achieve a greater awareness about their dancing bodies but also helped them to achieve new technical goals.
And what would a dancers health section be without hearing from a dancer? This very brave wonderful human, Madison Cronin, gives an account of a severe injury that she sustained whilst training in another country. Her journey is unfortunately not uncommon and a must read for every dancer, their families and teachers.We have a lot of highly skilled professionals in this industry with exceptional knowledge and experience as well as a huge amount of passion and dedication for the art of teaching dance. Sadly our industry is still unregulated so anyone anywhere can start a dance school. There is a very high risk that your child’s body will be damaged if your teacher has no training. Every year there is new data on how our bodies respond to impetuous. If your dance teacher is not constantly learning as a school teacher must do, as your gym instructor must do, as your Pilates instructor must do, in order to retain their credentials and be insured, your child is at risk. And those risks are significant.In this issue we speak with 25 teachers from our finest dance institutions. They share stories from their own student training days and offer advice to our community about why the art of teaching dance needs to be pragmatic, consistent and safe as well as fun.Another topic, which is dominating our young peoples lives, relates to their electronic devices. With the Victorian Government banning personal electronic devices from the public school system in 2020 we are finally seeing active engagement from government to support our young people find balance. I talked with Jason Coleman and Matt Lee, two of our favourite judges from So You Think You Can Dance Australia about this topic. Both agree intervention and education is required. Students are opting out of class when they don’t get the roles they want and instead turning to their social media accounts for validation. Focus on that ‘perfect’ dance shot is hindering the process of learning. Students are being intimidated by these very well sculptured images because they don’t think they are as a good as their peers. Wouldn’t it be great for every one of those unbelievable dance shots to be accompanied by a 20-minute video of that student doing a class? It really is a great issue with a lot of information, that has been well researched and edited, gathered altogether based on what is happening right now in our dance world. As an industry we can make changes. Choose wisely for your dancing child. Choose accredited teachers and choose health care professionals who have a history of treating dancers. Subscribe to dancetrain and read it together with your child or students. In doing so you help to support more great articles and information to be created and shared. And I promise, you will really love it!Love Danielle