Lecture on “safe stretching for dancers” by physiotherapist Katy.

As a teacher involved in training young dance students I realise it is very important to be aware of the possible dangers that exist when exercising and stretching, and to understand that training young adolescents is different than training adults. 

It is my responsibility to learn the safest possible ways for them to achieve their goals, as well as educating them on the appropriateness of their goals to sustaining a long and healthy dance career. 

I am completing this masters, my research project and putting so much effort into developing comprehensive dance training courses to have the full range of skills to help students do amazing things safely.

I attended this lecture as it links with my MEd research and directly to my practice. 

Like the physiotherapist, I am very worried about what is going on in some “master classes” and workshops where average kids are being forced into positions, with the promise that it will make them better – when in reality it is more likely to injure them. Forceful over stretching in one session is not the way to get more mobile.

The lecture was a great combination of theory and practical examples. It appealed to those of us sealing knowledge and dancers who seemed changes to their own practice. The only negative I may have is that there was nothing “new” the types of stretching were explained but no link to current research was made or work completed at Laban on the benefits of sports deco fix stretching following static stretches. 

My notes are shown above.

Lecture slides follow:

The lecturer also discussed the importance of facia stretching as an effective way to increase flexibility.

She demonstrated on a girl with tight hamstrings..she did a sit and reach test then released her facia with physiotherapist and then revisited the sit and reach test. The increase in flexibility was amaizing.

The lecturer did discuss hyper mobility. She demonstrated a hyer-mobile joint and got everyone to grade 12 points as to whether they were hyper mobile or not. She then explained that although her mobile individuals are more aesthetically pleasing they are at risk of over stretching. Over stretching excessive joint mobility is different to excellent flexibility and is not a requirement for success as a professional dancer. It places load on ligaments and tendons and likely to result in injury. So as a hyper noble individual there is no hot yoga for me!!! As my proprioception is less and I do not feel the stretch until passed the end point!!! (Thus my sore knee!)

I feel the conclusion to this lecture and my review of the Jazz teacher has lead me to consider that the best dance teachers consider students as individuals with different positives and negatives but all with so much potential. It is my job to find and nurture this.

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