Passion for dance is important: as teachers we want our students to be passionate, love what they do, and get involved at every opportunity. But is it really good for dancers to eat, sleep and breathe dance? What happens when passion turns into an obsession?
Think of a time when you were really enjoying your dancing. Really think about it: how it felt, what you did, and who else was around. Was there music playing? Maybe you can even recall what you were thinking of, or focusing on.
My guess is that you could see the above scenario in your mind’s eye: the image of that time of dance enjoyment. This is the visualization part of imagery, and it is powerful in itself. But just like normal life (and dance training) is not just visual, you could also conjure up a range of other sensations, even though you were not actually experiencing them for real. This is why the term imagery is preferred to visualization: it acknowledges the importance of using multiple senses to make an image as vivid as possible. In fact, research shows us that imagery is more effective the more vivid it is, and vividness is achieved by using multiple senses. Essentially, it is these sorts of rich images which convince your brain that what is going on is real – it is stimulating the very same areas of the brain as actual movement, actual music-listening, actual seeing, and so on.
There are a large variety of different dance shoes to choose from, but which shoe is right for you, what did your dance teacher want you to wear, what will make you look good, and does it really matter in the long run? The difference in dance performance when wearing various shoe designs is not only something many dancers have experienced, but has been measured and shown to be true. There are several factors you need to consider when choosing a dance shoe: the fit of the shoe, the genre of dance, what you want your shoe to do, and what dance steps you want to perform best.
The next series of posts from the Education Committee shines a light on the psychology of dancers. Over the next month or so, we have a range of blog contributions from leading dance psychology researchers and practitioners. Erin Sanchez (Dance UK) and Joan Duda (University of Birmingham) will discuss the Empowering Dance programme in the UK, a professional development workshop which draws on research finding that support the integration of autonomy supportive environments. Sanna Nordin Bates (University of Stockholm) introduces us to the use of imagery in optimizing dance practice and Imogen Aujla (University of Bedfordshire) discusses the importance of passion in dance. We kick off here with the first in the series exploring the application of positive psychology to dance practice and how we can create positive learning and creative environments in which our dancers can flourish.
Students from all over the globe had the opportunity to interact with colleagues and professionals alike at a variety of student-oriented events at this year’s Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The evening prior to the start of the annual meeting, students mingled at a local Pittsburgh bar, catching up with old friends and making new acquaintances. Later during the weekend, Dr. Jeffrey Russell from Ohio University spoke to students about the process of publishing research in a peer-reviewed journal such as the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science. He encouraged students not to be daunted by the prospect of publishing research but to view it as an opportunity to contribute to the expanding body of dance medicine literature and show pride in their hard work. A quote that stuck out from his talk was, “if you produce excellent work, people will notice,” which was encouraging students to continue to produce high quality research and writing over a span of time, and excellence can be achievable.
As summer fades, as the leaves drop from the trees, and as the nights draw in (well, in the northern hemisphere anyway) this is one of my favourite times of the year. Not because the winter is coming or that one starts planning end of year festivities but because it's the time for the annual meeting of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science.
The 25th Annual Meeting is fast approaching and the Student Committee is hosting and facilitating many exciting events for student members this year. The Student Social is an informal event, which will allow for students (21+) to connect in a relaxed environment the night before the Annual Meeting begins. A session for anyone interested in publishing is also on the schedule, hosted by the committee and presented by Jeffrey Russell (PhD, AT, Athens, Ohio, USA). Dr. Russell will be talking about his personal experiences with publishing research, highlighting specific challenges and discussing strategies to overcome each. As a part of our mission to drive connections between students and professionals, a Networking Session is one of our most anticipated events for the meeting. Students will have an opportunity to interact with many professionals in a variety of areas of Dance Medicine & Science including physiotherapists, educators, physicians, and researchers.
Dance today is an athletically strenuous art form and many young dancers suffer from injuries. My co-author, Nancy Kadel, MD, and I have many insights into why these injuries commonly occur and how they can be prevented. The focus of this blog is on cross training for young dancers, one of the most important topics we discuss in “A Young Dancer's Guide: What every young dancer needs to know about injury prevention and rehabilitation”.