Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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A young dancer survey

Robin L. Kish, Janice Gudde Plastino, Bethany Martyn-Stevens
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 18 Number 4: Page 161 (December 2003)

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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine, through self-reporting techniques, the training and injury rates among students studying dance in the private sector. The private studio provides the major venue for students to study dance. This is especially true for young students (ages 8-18) who study ballet, jazz, and tap and who participate in dance competitions. A private dance studio is defined as a studio open to the community with no audition requirements for entry that teaches various technique styles. Private studio dancers are not training specifically to be professional dancers in major ballet companies. Few data exist regarding the training or injury rates of these students in part because of difficulties with access and compliance. To date, 3,700 surveys have been distributed (January 2001-present) to students training in private studios throughout California. Information was requested concerning current and past injuries, dance training history, and competition schedules. This ongoing investigation currently has examined 173 (male = 6 and female = 167) completed surveys. The mean age of dancers who responded to the survey was 15.2 years. Of the dancers surveyed, 93% study at private dance studios, and 67% have studied in high school dance programs. The number of injuries reported (n = 226) included fractures, strains, sprains, and tendinitis. The ankle, knee, and back were found to be the most frequent injury sites. Correlations between the number of different techniques studied and the total hours danced, the number of different techniques studied and number of injuries for each individual, and the number of injuries for each individual and total hours danced all were significant at 0.01. Initial results support that dancers in the private dance studio are susceptible to injuries similar to those experienced by dancers in elite training centers.

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