Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dancing shouldn't be a bone-crushing experience

A 1988 study conducted in Canada by IRSST called Les blessures et leur prévention chez les danseurs professionnels (Injuries and their prevention in professional dancers) (in French) can be downloaded from:  This was based upon an interview survey with 80 dancers, representatives of dance troupe management, and health professionals who regularly treat dancers.  Excerpts from the study show:
  • 94% of dancers get injured at least once in a period of 16 months.
  • 4 injuries occur each 1,000 hours of work (comparable to other professional sports).
  • The injury affects mainly the back and lower limbs and it is mainly sprains and muscle injuries.
  • Injuries that occur due to the activity are are five times more likely than accidental injuries.
  • The work done late at night and learning new movements are situations of higher risk.
  • The texture of the floors, fatigue, and workload are all factors in dance injuries.
For a more extensive study (in English) you can download "Occupational Risks in the Performing Arts" (

There is also a great document titled "Performing arts - Occupational Risks: Keeping workers front and centre" that can be found at:
One dance floor manufacturer, Spectat ( & click on: "Dance Floors", then Salt o, Salt i, and Salti s), has taken to approach to design floors that have specially engineered shock absorption and energy damping so that joint and other body injuries are minimized.  Although not the first to do this, they have applied good kinesiology ( and biomechanics understanding to the problem and tempered it with solid engineering.
At their web site there is a document ( (in French - hey, that's why they put translation engines on the web) that describes the various forms of trauma that a dancer's body encounters, and also has a brief description of how their unique floor structure is designed to minimize these stresses.
So, don't

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