Beyond Ballet: Why and How? A Conference Report

Author: Erin Sanchez on behalf of the IADMS Education Committee 

Beyond Ballet conference participants
Image by Visuele Notulen | Michèle Giebing 

On April 16-18th, ArtEZ School of Dance and Balettakademien Stockholm presented BEYOND ballet why and how, a conference "initiated by education, partnered by the dance profession" in Arnhem, the Netherlands. BEYOND's name alludes to the success of the event's predecessor in Stockholm in 2012; Ballet: Why and How?, which focused on ballet technique and its role in professional vocational training for dancers. This year's conference took on the future of dance with a wider view of dance education, training and professional life through five themes: Educational, Artistic, Urban, Preservation and Medicine and Science. Topics were progressively developed over three days through a series of linked lectures, workshops and practical classes, panel and research discussions, and time for open dialogue and debate. 

Dance medicine and science were directly discussed in many areas of the conference, with sessions on empirically supported and clinically relevant medical care and the composition and uses of an interdisciplinary team in delivering support and health care for dancers. However, the most inspiring revelation was the continuing and growing appreciation from dancers, teachers, artistic directors and medical professionals of the value of dance medicine and science in every aspect of dance; from physical implications of collaboration between dance and circus, creative implications of research into synchronization in motor control, awareness of nutrition and body image among dancers and the lengthening of dance careers to radical improvement of traditional dance training through research on attentional focus, periodization and emotional intelligence.

Throughout the conference, methods of training, research, leadership and care of the dancer dominated the discourse. Delegates had time to discuss these themes and to hear rich debate and thought about the future of dance as an art form through the lens of these topics. Cross disciplinary dialogues between artists, educators and medical professionals provided safe place to debate change and growth. Further, students from both ArtEz and Balettakademien Stockholm provided a voice of the future by actively participating in every session, raising questions and providing insights. IADMS members Elsa Urmston, Sanna Nordin-Bates, Margot Rijven, Derrick Brown, Adrienne Stevens and Clare Guss-West all shared knowledge and research from their specialist fields.  

If you are interested in learning more about the conference proceedings, sessions have been captured in video, articles and blog posts here

Erin Sanchez, on behalf of the IADMS Education Committee
Healthier Dancer Programme Manager (part-time) Dance UK
Web Resources Administrator Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Medical Website
Dance UK, Unit A402A, The Biscuit Factory, 100 Clements Road, London, SE16 4DG
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