Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Faculty

Faculty of Education & Arts

Abstract

The purpose of this research paper is to discover more about tertiary dance and the effects that dance has on the body. I will discuss the pressures that dance places on the body, looking specifically at the years during full time study as a tertiary student. I will address dance issues such as common injuries, the reasons these injuries occur, prevention strategies, the effect that dance has on the mind and training conditions generally. Research into tertiary dance education programs, dance injuries, injury prevention, and general dance patterns will be supported by survey responses to come to some conclusions about the question 'Is dance good for the body, or not?' Dance is a challenging, aesthetically pleasing, innovative art form, where the participants the dancers- are consistently aiming for the best possible individual appearance, performance quality, technique, and unique style. This means that the risk of pushing a fraction further than what is physically possible and working the body too hard is elevated. The danger of injury is always apparent in the back of a dancers' mind. As Orthopaedic Surgeon Reza Salleh said to me during an injury rehabilitation session, 'Injuries are a dancer's occupational hazard.' The first and most obvious finding from the surveys conducted as part of this research and my study of the participants is that students who are enrolled or have graduated from a tertiary dance program strongly believe that they have learnt more about their bodies and are better prepared for injury prevention and maintenance due to their tertiary studies. The injury rate was different for each survey participant however the age where most injuries occurred was between the ages of 18 to 22. The increased amount of pressure that the dancer experiences when taking this step into full-time study can have several effects on the body. It is a time of vulnerability and change, and the dancer will take part in many activities that they have potentially never practiced before, leaving them feeling unsafe and nervous in some aspects of class or rehearsal activity. From this study I have discovered that the time when students are studying full-time at a tertiary education program is when they are exposed to many new physical practices, mostly unfamiliar. It is these years that injury occurrences increased due to heavy scheduling, exposure to new and difficult genres of techniques and skills, and the drive to reach full potential before the last day of the final year, as the gates open to the professional world and the comfort of the institution is left behind.

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