News: December 2017

Ausdance National Council President’s Report – December 2017

As the end of the year draws closer, it has provided the opportunity to reflect on what a year 2017 has been for Ausdance National.

Firstly, we turned 40! It is incredible and humbling to reflect upon Ausdance National’s achievements over the past 40 years, including the huge number of people that have made significant contributions to supporting, advancing, promoting and celebrating the dance sector. While there were a number of key events and activities that assisted in celebrating this important milestone, a detailed outline of all these achievements can be found on the Ausdance National website.

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Dance in Proximity: World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific Conference & AGM

Taipei National University of the Arts, 10–11 November 2017

There were some special moments at the Dance in Proximity conference, hosted in Taiwan by the Taipei National University of the Arts in November, and organised by a wonderful team of artists, choreographers and teachers, led by Yunyu Wang.

dancer spinningMunguntsetseg Munkhbadrakh demonstrating traditional Mongolian dance movements during the Cross-cultural Dance Education session. Photo Julie Dyson

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National Advocates for Arts Education 2017 arts education advocacy

The NAAE has had another busy year advocating on behalf of all five arts subjects in the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. In 2017 we – 

  • Prepared a submission into the Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy (co-authored by John Saunders and Sandra Gattenhof with input from all other artform members of NAAE).
  • Met with Inquiry member Ann Sudmalis MP, thanking her for her role in drafting and supporting recommendation 10 of the review (released on 20 June): 

The Committee recommends that the National Innovation and Science Agenda explicitly recognise the importance of STEAM, creative digital skills, the creative industries and the arts more generally.

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Fatigue identified as major contributor to injury in Australia’s professional dancers

The Safe Dance Report IV: Investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers, published today on the Ausdance National website, examines the Australian context and occurrence of injury in professional dancers and makes recommendations to support sustainable, healthy, and productive dancing careers.

A collaboration between The University of Sydney and Ausdance National, Safe Dance IV is the fourth in a series of Safe Dance research projects. It continues the important work started by Ausdance National almost 30 years ago.

The survey of 195 Australian professional dancers found 97% experienced at least one significant injury in their dance career, compared with 89% in 1999. And 73% of dancers reported experiencing a dance-related injury in the past 12 months.

Author and lead researcher Amy Jo Vassallo, a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health Sciences at The University of Sydney, said the consequences of these injuries can be quite substantial and include missed performance opportunities and income, ongoing pain and disability, and expensive treatment including surgery. Serious injuries can even lead to early retirement from dance careers and lifelong disability.

‘The proportion of dancers reporting fatigue as a contributing factor to their injury has increased from 26% in 1990 and 33% in 1999 to 48% in 2017’ she said.

‘However, compared with previous Safe Dance survey results, fewer dancers reported poor technique or environment as a contributor to their injury. This demonstrates the benefits of education, policies and interventions regarding safe dancing practice for dancers and teachers at all stages of a dance career, including early teaching and pre-professional training’.

Ausdance National President, Professor Gene Moyle, said the Safe Dance Report IV continues an important lineage for the Australian dance community. Hearing the words “safe dance practice” being so much a part of our language and approach within the dance sector today is a testament to the impact and contribution of the collective Safe Dance reports within our industry.

Recommendations have outlined that access to dance-educated or dance-specialised healthcare services is essential; addressing the cultural aspects of injury reporting is critical; and that a better acknowledgement of the psychological and psychosocial aspects of injury is required.

Key findings

Survey respondents’ employment as a dance performer was most commonly with a dance company (66%) or as an independent dance artist (38%).

Injuries remain common in professional dance, with 73% of professional dancers reporting experiencing an injury in the past 12 months. The most common site of injury was the ankle (26%), followed by the knee (11%) and hip (10%).

The most common injury type was a strain (25%), followed by chronic inflammation (19%) and a sprain (18%).

There was one accidental or traumatic injury for every two overuse or gradual injuries. The most common responses regarding the self-reported contributor to injury were fatigue (48%), followed by new or difficult choreography (39%) and ignoring early warning signs (31%).

Despite 62% of respondents reporting belief that there is still stigma associated with sustaining injuries as a professional dancer, 75% of dancers did say they would seek professional opinion if they suspected an injury. However, only 50% stated they would tell someone within their dance employment and 49% said they would also take their own preventative steps to manage their injury.

Despite seeing a clinician for treatment of their injury, 40% of dancers whose injury was currently unresolved were unsure if their injury would resolve in the foreseeable future. This indicates that many dancers need to be provided with improved and realistic expectations of their injury, capacity to dance during their injury and likely return to full dance ability.

For interview contact:

Amy Vassallo | PhD Candidate
Faculty of Health Sciences
The University of Sydney
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 02 9351 9010 and 02 9351 9108

Professor Gene Moyle ARAD MAPS MCSEP GAICD SFHEA
President
Ausdance National Council – Ausdance Inc.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 7 3138 3616

Download Safe Dance Report IV media release

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