Dance Science, like many other areas of science is best quantified by it’s aims, rather than it’s methods. This is due largely to the collective approach of science and no method can be defined as just being useful to one area of science. That being said dance science draws largely on methods of social science and sport science in order to investigate Dance and the Dancer.
The aims of Dance Science are to gain an understanding of dance practise in order to enhance training for dancers, either by reducing injury recovery time, encouraging healthy dance practise or devising training programmes, and to build awareness of the health and well-being aspects dance can bring to the community.
Dance Science came, unsurprisingly, as a branch of Sports Science initially offered in America in the 70’s and 80’s. However, what may separate the to two is the additional focus Dance Science has on understanding creativity and Somatic Practises, while many other areas of focus remain the same, for example, physiology, psychology and nutrition, amongst many more. The Dance Science sector still remains small having around 900 members in the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), which is one of the largest organisations for Dance Science related Professionals and Student.
Here in the UK, the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS) was created in order to provide dance specific health care, health care that is informed by scientific research. This is enabled through the network of partners and the multidisciplinary approach it takes. More locally in Bath, NIDMS, partnered with Dance Again Foundation, have been able open an NHS dance injury clinic enabling dancers in the South West to access high-quality affordable health care that is specific to dancers. This clinic is now in it’s third year, before this dancer would need to travel to London or Birmingham for dance specific health care.
Dance Science can not only help dancers when they are injured but are also able to understand how dance can be used in order to reduce injury levels in those who aren’t dancers. One example of this is the recent Dance for Parkinson’s initiative to encourage those with the degenerative disease to take up dancing. I will cover this in more detail as I progress with my blog, so look out for that post if you are interested.
So in conclusion, Dance Science is an area of science drawing upon methods appropriate to the research in order to investigate areas related specifically to dance, be it physiology, kinesiology, creativity or psychology, with the aim of increasing the safe practise of dance and understanding dance practise as a whole.
While I have attempted to answer a wide range of questions people may have about dance science there may still be some questions that you’d like answering, feel free to leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
- IADMS – https://www.iadms.org/
- NIDMS – http://www.nidms.co.uk/
- Dance For Parkinson’s – http://www.danceforparkinsonsuk.org/