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.
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
Ausdance National Council – Ausdance Inc.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 7 3138 3616
Download Safe Dance Report IV media release
Congratulations to Kristina Chan who received the Ausdance National Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship at the 2017 Australian Dance Awards on Sunday 24 September 2017.
Tuesday 22 August 2017
For immediate release
Australia’s peak dance organisation, Ausdance National, will host a two-day forum next month bringing together dance makers, producers and presenters for a highly topical forum focusing on the future of dance within the digital domain. The National Dance Forum is Australia’s key platform for dance artists, industry professionals and educators in providing rich opportunities to discuss, debate and collaborate with some of the most influential individuals and organisations in the country.
We are thrilled to announce our third key speaker for National Dance Forum 2017—David Throsby, Distinguished Professor of Economics at Macquarie University.
16 May 2017
The 2017 National Dance Forum will bring together makers, producers and presenters to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum will focus on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain.
Led by the dance sector’s advocate for 40 years—Ausdance National—the fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) will take place at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, 25–26 September 2017 and will follow the Australian Dance Awards (Arts Centre Melbourne, 24 September 2017).
Dance artists, companies, presenters and researchers looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend.
Ausdance National and the Ausdance network welcome news today that the Arts Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, has decided to return Catalyst funds to the Australia Council.
The sudden removal of funds from the Australia Council, the loss of transparent peer reviewed decision-making processes and uncertainty about the role of Catalyst have caused enormous disruption and distress across the sector.
Ausdance National President-elect, Associate Professor Gene Moyle, said: ‘The Minister’s decision to return remaining Catalyst funds to the Australia Council is a very welcome step. The Minister is to be congratulated for acting on the strong messages he has received about the loss of highly-regarded dance companies and organisations, and has moved to address the ongoing concerns of the arts profession.
‘We now want to ensure that some funding balance will be returned to the small to medium dance sector in particular, so we welcome the Minister’s comment that “This will allow the Australia Council to continue to focus on supporting small to medium arts organisations.'
We look forward to working with the Minister and the Australia Council to ensure that this goal is realised.
Contact: Gene Moyle (0411 640 012) or Julie Dyson (041 2211 513)
Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Education and Training
PC Box 6100, Senate
Canberra ACT 2600
Ausdance is deeply concerned about your decision to include some of Australia's leading professional dance training courses in the crackdown on courses eligible for VET student loans.
We are particularly concerned about the statement that these professional dance training courses are being subsidised because they are 'used simply to boost enrolments, or provide 'lifestyle' choices, but don't lead to work'.
As a member of the Australian dance sector, I wanted to let you know of some changes to Ausdance National in recent weeks.
In September 2016 the Ausdance National Council agreed to significant changes to the Constitution—moving away from a network-led board to a new skills-based governance structure and extending the membership to engage more directly with a range of stakeholders. We are opening up membership at a national level to engage directly with individuals through the state and territory offices.
Terri Charlesworth’s initiative, dedication, generosity and passion have greatly influenced generations of Western Australian dancers. As well as being a dazzling performer, Terri has had outstanding success as a teacher and leader in dance education and training.
Born in Perth, she began her early ballet training in Melbourne with acclaimed dancers such as Kira and Serge Bousloff and Xenia Borovansky. She joined West Australian Ballet for its inaugural 1953 season and was later appointed Assistant Artistic Director.
Presented by Harlequin Floors and Ausdance as part of the MoveMe Festival 2016.
Perth is ready to host the 2016 Australian Dance Awards straight after the MoveMe Dance Festival—put Sunday 18 September at The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia in your diary! Tickets on sale at Ticketek.
This night-of-nights for professional dance sees twelve Awards including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, Outstanding Performance by a Company, and Outstanding Performances by Female and Male dancers.
National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) met in Canberra on 19 & 20 June to discuss a range of outstanding issues affecting implementation of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. Several projects were identified that would assist classroom teachers, students, governments and other decision makers in the implementation process. NAAE plans to develop these projects in the coming months, and seek partnerships and funding to bring them to fruition.
The founders and honorary life members of Ausdance—the Australian Dance Council—are extremely disappointed that an organisation with such a high national and international reputation for innovation and creativity has not been supported with four-year organisation funding by the Australia Council.
Funding cuts to the organisation’s innovative partnerships, public forums, its advocacy campaigns to support the small to medium dance sector (including years of work with the Australia Council to increase the Council’s own profile and funding—petitions to both Houses of Parliament in 2006, Dance Plan 2012 etc.); its seminal publications, dance education programs, and its international leadership in Safe Dance research leaves us believing that the Australia Council no longer sees value in the leadership shown by Ausdance National
Next week Dancenorth opens their tour of the double bill ‘If _ Was _’
Tour performance dates and locations
- 9–11 June, Dancenorth, Townsville
- 15 June, Mackay Entertainment Centre
- 16 June Proserpine Entertainment Centre
- 23–25 June, Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane
- 29 June – 2 July, the Substation, Melbourne
Delve into the fanciful and illusionary worlds of two extraordinary choreographers, Stephanie Lake and Ross McCormack, as they fall down the rabbit hole of imagination and fill in the blanks for Dancenorth’s most recent double bill.
Final preparations are underway for next week’s much anticipated ArtsPeak National Arts Election Debate in Melbourne.
8 June 1.00 pm – 2.30 pm
The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
The debate will bring the arts leaders of each of the three major parties together to share their big ideas and respond to the burning questions of industry leaders and commentators from right across the industry.
Media Release, 16 May 2016
ArtsPeak, the national confederation of peak arts and cultural organisations, says the Australian arts ecology is under serious threat following the announcement of four-year funding decisions by the Australia Council.
13 May 2016 media release
The Australian Dance Council—Ausdance congratulates the 12 dance organisations which were successful in the four-year funding announcements by the Australia Council. There is a solid core of highly creative, inspiring and highly productive organisations to create and tour dance around Australia and overseas.
Regrettably, the Australian Dance Council—Ausdance Inc (Ausdance National) finds itself amongst the 62 previously funded organisations that have not been successful. Ausdance National has been notified by the Australia Council that it will not receive operational funding beyond 31 December this year. This brings to an end many years of operational support for the work of Ausdance National.
ArtsPeak Media Release (45 KB PDF)
9 May 2016
The arts sector is reeling today at news that an extraordinary $13m in Catalyst funds were secretly pushed out the door over the weekend just in advance of the election being called and caretaker mode beginning.
In total $23,317,301 has now been spent – nearly half the $48m allocated for the next 4 years of Catalyst operations. When Senate Estimates sat last Thursday evening the committee were only made aware of the $10m of grants announced by Arts Minister Mitch Fifield last week.
ArtsPeak—Confederation of Peak National Arts Organisations
Hopes that the government would take the opportunity to fix the mess it created twelve months ago were dashed, with no mention of arts and culture in the pre-election Budget handed down in Canberra last night.
ArtsPeak spokesperson and Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts, Tamara Winikoff OAM said, “Unfortunately when it comes to the arts, it seems this government is not concerned about forcing job losses and causing chaos, the very opposite of the PM’s mantra about jobs and growth. The 2016 Budget does nothing to redress the devastating impact of the cuts to the Australia Council and ongoing ‘efficiency dividend’ imposed by the government in 2014 and 2015. The cuts total more than $42 million/year. Massive destabilisation of the arts industry is resulting from decisions made by the current government, and without any policy framework, it looks set to continue.”
Media Release 7 March 2016
ArtsPeak (the confederation of Australian national peak arts organisations and state arts industry councils), at its meeting on Wednesday 2nd March, called on the Commonwealth Government to urgently provide a positive public response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts.
At the meeting ArtsPeak reaffirmed its full endorsement of all 13 recommendations made in the Inquiry report, highlighting two in particular that need an urgent response before the upcoming election: that the government develop and articulate an evidence-based, coherent and clear arts policy in consultation with the arts sector and that the Commonwealth government restore to the Australia Council the full amount of funds diverted from it in the 2014 MYEFO and 2014 and 15 Budgets (see full set of Senate Inquiry Recommendations attached).
Co-convenor of ArtsPeak, Nicole Beyer said today, “The time to act is now. It has been three months since the Senate Inquiry report was handed down and there has been no action from the government to implement any of the recommendations. Arts companies across the country are now starting to fail, tours are being cancelled and projects abandoned. The government needs to take responsibility, and to make clear public announcements about its intended actions in response the report.”
ArtsPeak Co-convenor Tamara Winikoff OAM agreed, 'What the Minister is being told loud and clear is that the Government’s funding cuts are destabilising the arts infrastructure to a major extent and this needs to be fixed urgently. Despite a token gesture by the Arts Minister, the cuts are incrementally crippling both small to medium arts organisations and major cultural institutions in Canberra.'
Winikoff continued, 'In an election year the arts sector is looking to the government to act quickly and decisively to properly fix the mess it has created over the last two years. Implementing the Senate Inquiry recommendations is a vital first step. The May budget is the government’s window of opportunity to restore arts funding and regain the trust of artists, organisations and arts audiences and supporters across the country.'
The Senate Inquiry recommendations encapsulated the sentiments of almost 3000 submissions from individuals and organisations as well as hundreds of people who spoke at the public hearings conducted in 10 cities around the country.
The volume of the Inquiry response and the weight and unanimity of opinion is unprecedented in the arts in Australia. It has led to a new mood of motivation and co-operation across the whole arts community to ensure that the stability and sustainability of the arts is restored.
For media comment please contact: Nicole Beyer, Director, Theatre Network Australia 0432 609 658 Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) 0411 162 156 / 02 9368 1900
Recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015
5.8 The committee recommends that the government develop and articulate, in consultation with the arts sector, a coherent and clear arts policy, including priorities for arts funding supported by evidence-based analysis, and greater clarity about the respective roles of the Ministry for the Arts and the Australia Council, as well as the other statutory arts bodies.
1 March 2016
Statement regarding hearings by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Public hearing into Centres for the Performing Arts
2 March 2016
Ausdance holds the position that any abuse of a child—sexual, physical or emotional—is abhorrent. A dance studio or class is not isolated from the rest of society, no matter how special it may appear or feel. Studio owners and class teachers, like teachers and activity leaders across the whole of our community, have a special responsibility for the welfare of children in their charge. This holds whether it is a small community dance class or a large commercially-oriented studio.
A dance class or studio is first and foremost a business and as such should be subject to regulatory requirements as any business providing recreational services for children. Dance is also a key art form, which in the view of Ausdance makes any abuse of the trust placed by children in their class leaders or studio principals especially serious.
Ausdance notes that the Royal Commission is not enquiring into abuse in dance studios or the entertainment industry. Rather, the Royal Commission is hearing evidence about two specific centres for the performing arts, one of which was for dance. However, Ausdance supports the invitation for anyone who believes they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing to contact the Royal Commission directly.
Ausdance has a series of guides and fact sheets to assist dance teachers and dance studios. Where relevant, these guides and fact sheets have links to external authorities. The guides include:
- Child safe dance, with links to the Mandatory Reporting Guide, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and state and territory Child Protection Services and Advice.
- Australian guidelines for teaching dance developed in collaboration with dance studios and dance curriculum organisations
- Code of ethics for dance teachers
- Parents’ code of behaviour
- Professional business practice for studio teachers
- Safe Dance ® practice
- How to choose a dance school for your child
- Work health & safety for the dance industry
- Eating disorders and dancers
Ausdance re-affirms its statement of 15 December 2014 Teaching dance, supporting children.
Neil Roach, A/g CEO Ausdance National