Taking Care of a Dancing Body: An investigation of how anatomical knowledge effects a dancer's risk of injury and performance quality
Advisor:Bruce, Michael Kelly
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Dance Honors Theses; 2008
My Senior Distinction project, Taking Care of a Dancing Body, investigates how the body can be trained to extend the career of a contemporary dancer. This study’s goal is to develop a movement series that prepares a dancer’s body for athletic movement encountered in choreography. The purpose of the research deals with injury prevention, as well as investigating the possible secondary benefit of improved performance quality. My research method involves comparing the theories and findings of related topics from various fields such as Pilates, Yoga, strength training, and contemporary dance techniques. I am also working with a group of five dancers from the Department of Dance to help me construct the series and observe their progress as these ideas are discussed and applied. So far, I have been exploring the importance of anatomical symmetry of musculature versus meticulous stretching. Strength and flexibility are essential to dancers but unfortunately, stretching before exercise is not always sufficient in injury prevention. The human body tends to compensate for unevenness in the body by increasing tension in muscles and joints. This can eventually lead to injury. My research has been concentrated on the complex anatomy of the spinal joints and surrounding muscles. I hypothesize that lower back pain and injury can be prevented through the awareness and correction of asymmetry in the surrounding anatomy, the strengthening of the agonistic and antagonistic muscle groups, as well as maintaining and improving joints' range of motion. In addition, I believe the mere knowledge and awareness of the bodily structures and how they all systematically coordinate to allow integrated movement can increase physicality in a dancer. As experience is beginning to outweigh youth in the modern dance field, it is of the utmost importance that dancers take care of their bodies. Maintaining a healthy spine is essential to the success of a dancer’s ability to keep dancing through years of stress on the body. With the information gathered through my study, I hope to bring awareness to dancers about the possible steps that can be taken in order to ensure a lifelong career in this unique performing art-form.
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