Amy is a PhD candidate in the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. She started ballet at the age of 3 and immediately fell in love with it, but an injury kept her from pursuing a dance career professionally. Dance, however, is what sparked Amy’s interest in human biology and she studied medical science, public health and nutrition at university before working as a health policy advisor and health science researcher. In 2015, she enrolled in a PhD investigating the physical benefits and consequences of dance participation, at both professional and recreational levels. Besides dance and health research, Amy is also obsessed with baking bread, Pilates and drinking excessive amounts of tea.
From January 2017 we will start analysing the rich and valuable data provided though the Safe Dance IV questionnaire. We will also be writing the 4th Safe Dance report, which will be made available to the dance community via the Ausdance National website. In particular this report will detail the current prevalence of injuries in Australia’s professional dance population and describe progress that has been made in injury prevention and management since the 3rd Safe Dance report was published in 1999. The major study conclusions will be used to help set priority areas for future dance research and action, make updated safe dance practice recommendations and assist with evaluations of current injury prevention initiatives.
The International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) 26th Annual Conference was held in Hong Kong on October 20–23 2016. A group of Australian academics, clinicians, dancers and students were thrilled to be able to travel to Hong Kong to present our work to the dance research community. Australia should be proud to be at the forefront of this field, and a presentation on bibliometric analysis of dance publications identified Australia as one of the top countries in the world for quality and collaborative dance research!
The words ‘safe dance’ mean many different things to different parts of the dance community. It could be safe dance practice recommendations for teachers and studio owners, safe physical dance environments, injury prevention and safe return to dance practices, supporting the mental and physical development of dance students, the list goes on.
But how far have we come in preventing and managing injuries in Australia’s professional dancers? And are our dance practices safe?
The 4th Safe Dance® project, Safe Dance IV—Investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers, is about to be launched by the University of Sydney and Ausdance. This national survey of all professional dancers in Australia is being conducted by Amy Vassallo, a PhD candidate, and her supervisors Dr Claire Hiller, A/Prof Evangelos Pappas and A/Prof Emmanuel Stamatakis. It has been developed based on previous national and international dance injury studies, a comprehensive review of relevant literature in the field of sport medicine and epidemiological research and expert advice from the local dance community.