Dance Medicine

"Only a maximum of health allows a maximum of performance!" [Judith-Elisa Kaufmann, 2008]

Dance medicine forms the basis of all classes and actions of the Ballet School and School for Performing Arts, Body, Art & Expression. For more than 20 years the principal of school, Judith-Elisa Kaufmann, has been internationally known for her dedication and work in dance medicine and dance science. She is numbered among the pioneers in Austria. Being part of the board of the Organization for Dance Medicine in German speaking Countries, "tamed" (from German TAnzMEDizin) and the head of Austria's dance medicine, Kaufmann had already represented dance medicine internationally long before it became known in Austria itself.

In her book "Tanzpädagogik & Tanzmedizin - Die Symbiose der Zukunft. Fach- und Arbeitsbuch Tanzpädagogik" (Engl. "Dance Pedagogy & Dance Medicine - The Symbiosis of the future. Textbook dance and dance pedagogy") she discusses the necessary fusion between dance medicine and pedagogy for the sake of the performing dancer. The book is available in its German version via Amazon and all bookshops and will be COMING SOON in the English translation.

Feel free to read into a short extract (all rights reserved!):

[Auszug aus Kaufmann, Judith-Elisa. Tanzpädagogik & Tanzmedizin Die Symbiose der Zukunft. Fach- und Arbeitsbuch Tanzpädagogik. Remscheid. Rediroma-Verlag. 2016. ISBN-13: 978-3868709728    ISBN-10: 386870972X; URHEBERRECHTLICH GESCHÜTZTES MATERIAL; Kopie, Verbreitung und Verwendung nur durch vorherige schriftliche Genehmigung der Autorin!]


The goal is a maximum of performance through a maximum of health for the individual dancer.
The term “dance medicine” has established itself during the last decade. Yet, many people ask themselves - and me - what the term actually means. Dance medicine does not equal dance therapy. Dance medicine1,2,3,4 is the field of study in medicine that is dedicated to the health aspects of dancers of all styles and levels and shall not be confused with the psychotherapeutic dance therapy. Dance medicine is comparable to sports medicine. Many label it as the part of sports medicine that specializes in dancers.
Among doctors, therapists, and trainers/educators, within dance medicine, there are specialists for certain dance styles and those who care for dancers in general. Just like there are specialists for different sports in sports medicine, there ought to be different types of experts for dance styles in dance medicine. A ballet dancer will have different injuries and require different knowledge than a flamenco or tap dancer, for example. This will be discussed at length in this chapter concerning injury prevention. Ideally, former dancers become doctors or therapists after their active career in dance and dedicate their knowledge to help dancers.
The word “dance medicine” developed at the end of the twentieth century through publications on the topic and the formation of dance medical organizations. In 1990, “IADMS”, the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science was brought to life. Shortly after - in 1997 - “tamed”, the organization for dance medicine in German speaking countries followed. In 1661, when King Louis XIV founded the first ballet academy in Paris the dance masters started to write on dance pedagogy, the study of dance education and partially already on dance medicine. Then, the first dissertation was written by a Frenchman. Namely the Parisian Remy5, who published his paper in 1824 at the medical faculty in Paris. The first paper in German language followed in 1948 and was titled “Arbeitsmedizinische Untersuchungen an Balletttänzern”. It already touched on topics such as malnutrition and eating disorders, which are still very current today.6
Dr. Josef Huwyler is considered the father of modern dance medicine, which back then rather was understood as “ballet medicine”.7 The new edition of his 1995 publication was published in 2005 as “Tanzmedizin: Anatomische Grundlagen und gesunde Bewegung“ and featured the word “dance medicine” in its title. In my book’s bibliography, you can find a selection of publications, which still count for great works of dance medicine and dance science in the present.
Besides the important work of tending to a dancer’s injuries, dance medicine focuses on injury prevention. This book wants to include trainers, choreographers and parents. Since many dance styles such as urban dance styles, flamenco, irish dance, or tango aren’t necessarily being taught by educators but are much rather influenced by the dancers and choreographers themselves, these styles can prove difficult for dance medicine to prevent injuries because there is no teacher or educator to communicate the ideas of dance medical injury prevention. Hence, this book is addressing dancers themselves as well.
In styles such as classical ballet that do include educators, it is hard for dance medicine to prevent injuries of different reasons: The historic tradition of dance education is still focused on the art form and not on the high performance sports. Today’s high performance sports require different support and education of the trainers than dance styles, which were taught until the early twentieth century. To minimize injuries and maximize performance, dance medicine has to become an obligatory and natural part of dance pedagogy and teaching.
The preventive dance medicine applies to all dance styles and all levels, amateurs / recreational dancers as well as professionals and dancers in vocational education. Of course, many basics apply in different volume and intensity. Yet, limited resources are at both dancer’s disposal which are their bodies and a limited amount of time in education and performance, after which an adaptation in training for recreational dancers as well as a second life path for professionals has to be considered. Here, a profession in dance medicine and science might be a choice for a second career.
1 Miller C. dance medicine. Current Concepts. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 17. 803-811.2006.
2 Ryan AJ. Early History of dance medicine. J Dance Med Sci. 1(1). 30-34. 1997.
3 Kravitz SR. dance medicine. Clin Podiatry. 1(2). 417-430. 1984.
4 Hahnengress ML. Musik- und Tanzmedizin - Künstlerisches Pendant der Sportmedizin. Dte Zeitschr Sportmedizin. 62(6). 141-142. 2011.
5 Magriel PD. A Selected Bibliography of the Dance in Health, Hygiene, and Physiology. Research Quarterly. American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. 10(2). 1939.
6 Wanke E. und DA Groneberg. Tanzmedizin. Maximale Anforderungen. Deutsches Ärzteblatt. 109(37). 1835. 2012.
7 Huwyler J. Der Tänzer und sein Körper. Aspekte des Tanzens aus ärztlicher Sicht. Balingen. Perimed-spitta Verlag. 1995.
8 Scott WA. Maximizing performance and the prevention of injuries in competitive athletes. Current Sports Med Rep. 1(3). 184-190. 2002.