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The Theatrical Stage as Accident Site in Professional Dance

Eileen M. Wanke, Michael Arendt, Helmgard Mill, Franziska Koch, Jacqueline Davenport, Axel Fischer, David A. Groneberg
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 29 Number 1: Page 32 (March 2014)

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Abstract: Objective: Reducing work-related health hazards at the different theatre workplaces is one aspect of preventive options in professional dance. This also applies to hazards on the highly variable theatrical stage areas. However, detailed information on these stages and their risks is not available. The aim of this study was to analyze and evaluate work-related traumatic injuries in the stage area. Methods: The basis for the evaluation was accident reports, from the German National Statutory Insurance, of work-related traumatic injuries occurring on stage in professional dancers (n=790: 407 males, 383 females) over a 17-year period (1995-2011). Results: Most (79.4%) of the accidents on stage occurred during an ongoing performance (frequency: 10.1/100 performances), with only 19.7% occurring during rehearsals on stage (p<0.001). Due to the sustained injury, 30.2% of the dancers sustained a time-loss injury. Most (57.7%) of the injured dancers were older than 25 years. Of the accidents, 59.3% were initiated by a definably extrinsic cause, with 40.7% caused by intrinsic factors (p<0.001). Injuries were most commonly caused by the 'partner' (21.7%) or 'floor' (21.0%). The lower extremity was the most commonly affected body region (63.6%) (p<0.001). Conclusion: Stage performances seem to carry an increased injury risk compared to rehearsals. The 'risk' of on-stage work is spread across various factors that seem to be stage-specific. There is a need for further qualitative and quantitative research to be able to classify the stage as workplace more precisely.

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