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.
In February 2017 we wrapped up data collection for the 4th Safe Dance research project, Safe Dance IV – Investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers. This is a continuation of the important work started by Ausdance National almost 30 years ago, which aims to better understand the occurrence of injuries in Australia’s professional dancers as the landscape of professional dance continues to change.
A vast amount of rich information will be analysed and interpreted in preparation for the launch of the 4th Safe Dance report in late 2017.
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 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.
Information to help teachers make sure that students are dancing safely and responsibly.
Safe Dance reports volumes 1, 2 and 3 contain research into the areas of injury prevention and management, body therapies, rehearsal and management practices.
To ensure a safe environment for dance students, Ausdance will soon publish a studio policy pack, containing best-practice recommendations and sample policies to assist teachers and studios to meet their legal, ethical and moral obligations.
Ausdance National has a long history of researching dancer health and well-being, and Safe Dance IV is the latest in a series that looks at how professional dancers manage injuries and sustain their careers. Safe Dance IV is a little different to I, II and III, as it is being conducted online by PhD student Amy-Jo Vassalo under the auspices of the University of Sydney.
What do we hope to learn from Safe Dance IV? For starters, the survey will update the authoritative findings from the previous surveys that helped to improve the management of injuries. One of those findings was the importance of the warm-up, especially a warm-up with a cardiovascular component for rehearsals.
And the definition of a professional dancer is probably wider than for the previous surveys as the range and style of professional practice has expanded, so the potentially wider data pool may bring in new information.
In the past few months, information about the survey has been widely circulated through our e-news and on Facebook. Ausdance staff have sent hundreds of emails to dance companies and individual dancers requesting them to share and take the survey. Hard copies have been printed and sent to The Australian Ballet, the West Australian Ballet, and the Queensland Ballet. Don’t be shy about sharing it further!
But we still need more responses to create the size of data pool Safe Dance IV deserves, to allow for the authoritative findings that can help to sustain careers. If you are a professional dancer—and the very first question is a filter question to help answer this—please do the survey. It will take a little time but it is completely worth doing to help sustain your career.
Read more about Safe Dance IV.
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 protection, 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
- Occupational 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
Beginning 1 January 2016, our approved insurance partner Aon are proud to launch an even better offering on their Public Liability insurance, tailored specifically for Ausdance members.
While the need to employ best practice is a given, it is still common for a dancer or dance business to be sued for things like providing incorrect advice, damage to a third party and/or injury to students. It’s therefore critical to ensure you also have the right insurance in place.
So, having spoken with Ausdance and listened to the feedback of the dance industry and their clients, Aon’s Public Liability insurance, is now available for new customers with more cover, and at a cheaper price.
- Easy choice of $10million or $20 million Public Liability cover
- Automatically included Professional Indemnity upped to $5 million cover.
- Prices now start from as low as $324.40
- Even simpler & quicker journey through Aon’s no-obligation Buy Online platform.
For any questions, visit A on Ausdance insurance or call 1800 806 584.
- When: 21–22 November 2015
- Where: Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove Campus,
- For more information and to register, visit the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare website.
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.