Safe Dance ®

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    Child protection

    Children have a fundamental right to be safe while involved in dance, sport or associated activities and teachers need to be aware of their legal obligations.

    Safe Dance ® practice

    These Safe Dance ® practice guidelines include how to set up a safe learning environment, what makes a practice or performance venue safe, the importance of cater for physical different bodies and abilities, how movements might impact on the body, and simple injury prevention and management strategies.

    Fuelling the dancer

    What professional or serious dancers should be eating and drinking to train and perform at their best and minimise risks of injury and/or burnout.

    Eating disorders and dancers

    How can dance teachers recognise students who might have an eating disorder, and how might they help them to acknowledge and deal with this complex and debilitating condition?

    Caring for the dancer’s body

    Traditionally, teaching and training concentrate on technique, alignment, flexibility and aesthetics. With advances in sports medicine and dance science research, there are easy-to-apply techniques to evaluate strengths and weaknesses.

    Stretching rules for dancers

    Recommendations for what you should and should not do when you are stretching, and some different stretching techniques.

    First aid for dancers

    Simple first aid advice that is particularly relevant to dancers and dance teachers, whether in a social, recreational or professional environment.

    Safe spaces for dance

    A checklist of environmental considerations that you should be aware of before you teach a dance class, lead a social dance event or give a dance performance.

    Healthy bones for female dancers

    This information is especially for young female dancers who can do much to prevent or minimise a common condition called osteoporosis by eating plenty of calcium during the growth years.

    Safe dance floors

    What you need to know about the floors that you are dancing and teaching on, and recommendations for installing a safe dance floor.

    How dancers avoid burnout

    Professional or full-time dancers—and athletes—are at risk of burnout, so it is important to be aware of the warning signs and take action.

    Safe Dance report 3

    This report documents the recurrence of injury in Australia professional dancers. It follows the work of Tony Geeves which began 10 years earlier .

    Safe Dance report 2

    The second Safe Dance report presents research into adolescent health issues during intensive dance training.

    Safe Dance report 1

    This project was the first of its kind undertaken in Australia. The report is supported by statistics and extensive consultation with dance and health professionals.

    Screening practices in dance—applying the research

    Screening for dance readiness is an accepted practice used to identify risk factors to injury and minimise “down time” from performance. The results can be used to design and implement programs to help directors, teachers and choreographers better understand possible physical limitations rather than perceive technical fault. Screening is not considered to be a strict filtering tool for acceptance into companies or dance schools but rather to gain a baseline profile of an individual and a good opportunity to introduce the dancer to healthcare providers. This paper aims to arm dance practitioners with practical, research-based strategies to apply in the realm of traditional teaching procedures.

    The risks we take—a model for risk stratification and recognition of competency in dance

    Lesley Graham (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane) seeks to apply the findings of the Sport and Recreation Training Australia Draft Position Paper for the Australian Fitness Industry and the National Fitness Professional/Trainer Registration model, to the dance industry. The implications and appropriateness of these models are discussed with reference to a process of risk stratification in dance teaching.

    Turning inside out

    Christine Babinskas (PhD Candidate Victoria University) has been developing a movement practice that draws on various dance techniques, movement work within a drama context, improvisation, and often involving artists from other disciplines. Her movement has shifted from the strictly codified aesthetic of classical ballet, to something more indeterminate, open and unique.

    The body observes

    The key message of the paper is that while observing a person moving, somatic and sensory processes are elicited and these have an impact on both the observer and the mover. The recognition of these processes is important to assessment, observation and clinical therapy protocols. The paper describes embodied awareness, including methods used in Authentic Movement, Dance, Dance/Movement Therapy, Body Psychotherapy, Body-Mind Centring, Sensory Awareness and Jungian Analysis. Arts-based practices can inform clinical practices, and embodied interaction in clinical practice can also inspire artistic research. The methodology of kinaesthetic attunement weaves subjective and objective experiences and can inform clinical relationships, childcare and educational practices.


    Australian guidelines for teaching dance

    The Australian guidelines for teaching dance outlines codes of ethical and professional behaviour and emphasises the importance of safe dance practice and teaching methodology.

    We designed it to help dance teachers and students by providing minimum standards, and by suggesting ways teachers can maintain or upgrade their teaching skills. Parents can use the Guidelines  to help choose a dancing school or group for their children.

    Safe Dance® fact sheets

    Information to help teachers make sure that students are dancing safely and responsibly.

    News / Blog / Press Releases / Events

    2015 Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare annual conference

    Key information

    The Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH) recognises that all performing artists, young and old, amateur and professional, have unique needs that may not be met by standard models of healthcare.

    The 2015 conference theme is 'A Career in the Spotlight: Enhancing Performance Health and Wellbeing'.

    This year’s theme will inspire attendees to consider the health and well-being of the whole artist through evidence-informed practice, whether this is in the private teaching studio or the rooms of a healthcare professional.

    Keynote speakers include international and national experts in performing arts healthcare: Dr Kate Hays, Associate Professor Rae de Lisle and Dr Cate Madill.

    Researchers and clinicians in the fields of dance, drama, voice and music health will present their latest research and discuss possible strategies to overcome the health challenges associated with being a performing artist.

    There will also be themed workshops about dance, music, voice and performing arts medicine research.

    Working with children in performing arts—industry consultation

    Working with Children in performing arts? Innovation and Business Skills Australia, in conjunction with Focus on Skills and Ausdance, is developing a working with children skill set and units of competency in performing arts.

    This project will involve working with AUSDANCE to address identified gaps in the current Dance qualifications and units:

    • Safe dance environments and equipment
    • Dances appropriate to age groups
    • Student health and wellbeing
    • Regulated environment for good teaching practice and code of conduct.

    The first round of industry consultation has been completed and revised drafts of the Working with Children in Performing Arts skill sets and units have been updated to reflect stakeholder feedback. A new draft unit applicable to all people working with children in performing arts environments and an additional skill set were developed in response to feedback. All materials are now available for final validation and stakeholder input. Responses are required by close of business Monday 19 October.

    Draft materials f or feedback

    IBSA invites final comment on the following new materials:

    Skill set:

    • CUASS00054 Working With Children in Performing Arts Skill Set
    • CUASS00055 Assistant dance teaching skill set

    Units of competency (and their assessment requirements):

    • CUADTM412 Promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of children in performing arts
    • CUAWHS405 Provide a safe performing arts environment for children
    • CUAWHS406 Interact appropriately with children in performing arts environments

    To read the draft materials for feedback, visit the Working with Children in performing arts web page on the IBSA website.

    Child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would like to hear from anyone who has experienced, or has information regarding, child sexual abuse in institutions in the entertainment industry.

    Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said that the Royal Commission is calling for people with information about child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry to contact the Royal Commission.

    Teaching dance, supporting children: information from Ausdance National

    For almost thirty years Ausdance has been working with dance teaching societies, organisations and teachers looking for the best approach to support the industry and students. Ausdance continues to compile and distribute information and guidelines about dance training, focusing particularly on issues of quality and safety. The Australian Guidelines for Teaching Dance suggests minimum standards for dance teaching and ways teachers can maintain or upgrade their teaching skills. You can also access the code of ethics for dance teachers and for parents, information about child protection and choosing a dance studio for your child.

    We remain committed to providing resources which help to facilitate the highest possible quality of dance education and training in this country. We continue to work with studio teachers, the broader dance sector and the wider community in reviewing and investigating additional strategies to ensure positive dance experiences within a dance-training environment.

    Children have a fundamental right to be safe from any form of abuse while involved in dance, sport or any activities. This is a legal requirement as well as a moral obligation. Child protection requires a commitment from everyone, including individuals teaching or leading dance and movement activities, to ensure the dance environment is safe for all children.

    We welcome your thoughts and feedback on these resources and the broader discussion on dance for young people. Please join the discussion and leave your thoughts below or contact us directly.

    Visiting Harlequin HQ

    One of the key supporters of the Australian Dance Awards is Harlequin Dance Floors. Established in 1979, Harlequin supply dance floors around the world, so it was great to meet with them at the Harlequin HQ in Kent, England.

     Ray, Technical Director with Harlequin undertaking a slip test on Harlequin vinyl floors   Paul, demonstrating the innovative locking method of the 'Liberty' panels Ray, Technical Director with Harlequin undertaking a slip test on Harlequin vinyl floors. Paul, demonstrating the innovative locking method of the 'Liberty' panels

    Mark Rasmussen, Global Group Marketing Manager, took the time to show me the main workshop and a presentation on how Harlequin are continually refining their knowledge and processes with the aim of ensuring dancers get the best support they can from a Harlequin dance floor. Harlequin supply a range of different floor types including portable and permanent floors. They have recently redone the stages at the Bolshi Ballet in Russia, and supply the floors for Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Ballet. Riverdance performances for the last ten years have been on a portable Harlequin floor.

    Harlequin have been interested in research (being undertaken in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and in Australia) looking at the scientific benefits and different impacts of floors on the dancers body. A lot has changed in the last few decades as dancers, teachers and choreographers have become more aware of safe dance practices. A good floor is just as vital to a dancer's wellbeing as a good diet and well-trained technique. Ten years ago research was based on sports floor models, but now we know what a basketballer is looking for out of a floor is significantly different to what a contemporary, classical or ballroom dancer needs. We have known for years that sports floors aren't ideal but research is still underway looking at what is right for dancers. And, of course one of the ongoing challenges is that what a classical dancer requires in a floor is different to what a hip-hop or tap dancer needs. While Harlequin have a growing range of floors available, studio owners, community dancers, performance facility directors and companies need to make an individual assessment about what will work best for their dancers.

    Over the coming months DanceUK and Ausdance will be reviewing the recent research on dance floors and updating our dance floor information sheets.