Why Good Ballet Teaching is Important

A study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital is sounding the alarm that dance-related injuries increased by 37% for the period covered by the years 1991-2007. A total of 113,000 dancers aged 3-19 asked for treatment in US emergency departments. Approximately 23 children or teenagers received treatment each day. Ballet, widely considered as one of the most grueling dance types, accounts for some of these injuries. A study published in the journal, Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, by University of Washington professor Ronald Smith found that the injury rate for ballet dancers is comparable to the injury rates in hard-contact sports like football and wrestling.

A Hard Look at Ballet Training

The rising risk and incidence of injuries in ballet and dance is a red flag. Given that children and teenagers are involved, it might be high time for the US states and federal government to look closely at how schools and teachers conduct ballet training. Knowing the preference of most ballet schools and studios to stick to the tried-and-proven classical methods of ballet training that emphasize endurance and resistance to pain, injuries resulting from overuse of muscles and joints are most likely to occur. A gentler approach to the training with a better training regimen aimed at reducing injuries could be proposed and implemented.

Have We Looked Far Enough for New Training Approaches?

There are alternatives to the classical methods of ballet training that we have been used to. Other schools have proposed a fusion of the old methods with novel approaches. One of these new-age approaches is the Revolutionary Principles of Movement (RPM) developed by Jo Anna Kneeland and Ruth C. Petrinovic. Cheryl Ale, the Founding Director of RPM, authored the eye-opening book, The Spark: The Legacy That Changed the Dance World. The salient consideration in her discussion of RPM is that it is a training regimen that wards off the occurrence of injuries to the student dancer or athlete. It may be worth our while to try.

by Cheryl Ale

Visit Revolutionary Principles of Movement: https://rpm.dance/

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