Experience of a Tester: Performance Optimisation Package

Plank Test

As a member of both the dance science and health teams, I was lucky enough to be part of the very first POP musculoskeletal and fitness screening session on the 7th of February 2015. Dance UK’s Performance Optimisation Package, or ‘POP’ is a tailored synthesis of services for both the working and training dancer that aim to help maintain fitness and well-being for performance. As part of this package dancers are entitled to two health and fitness screens, which are carried out by dance scientists and other healthcare practitioners in several centres across the UK.

The concept of screening has been available to Trinity Laban students since 2004. This means the team here are extremely comfortable with the testing protocols and very used to working with our student cliental. The introduction of the POP package however; forced us to step outside of our comfort zone, make changes to our protocols through collaboration with other healthcare practitioners and interact with a new client base. Although change is scary and time seemed against us, preparing for this new service was nothing but a positive experience for me as a tester. The lead up to our first session involved numerous meetings between Trinity Laban, Dance UK, the University of Wolverhampton and the Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries, for strategic planning and detailed organisation. Myself and other members of the dance science team met for many hours to rehearse the new protocols and to identify any potential problems. Our primary aim was to ensure the first POP screening day ran as seamlessly and efficiently as possible in order to facilitate a wholly enjoyable experience for all of the POP members.

On the day itself we were confident that our hard work would pay off and whilst there was an air of anxiety, we were excited to welcome our first three members through the doors. As I have already mentioned much of our anxiety related to the change in protocols, with a new fitness test, balance test and muscular endurance test included in the POP specific screening session. After meeting each of our brilliant POP members however, this anxiety seemed to disappear as they embraced the session with an incredibly enthusiastic and inquisitive attitude. It was amazing to work with such established and interesting artists and their approach to the day made the dance science lab a reciprocal learning environment between both the testers and POP members.

The dance science and health departments are very much looking forward to meeting future POP clients in our upcoming screening days.

Amelia Wilkinson

Health Administrative Intern and Dance Science Graduate Intern

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