Work Placement Reflections: Dance Science & Health

For the past week, I have been able to work closely with both the dance science and dance health departments at Trinity Laban. I gained many valuable insights into the research that is undertaken, the MSc programme and the many roles and responsibilities of all the wonderful staff.

I have just finished my second year studying BA (Hons) Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton where I have modules in dance science and I am also an ambassador for One Dance UK, therefore I have close links with NIDMS. Although my course does not have a compulsory placement, I applied to do a placement at Trinity Laban by choice to develop my knowledge and learn more about career paths and programmes. The MSc at Trinity Laban was the first MSc in Dance Science available, therefore its reputable status and outstanding facilities and staff enticed me to come and undertake a placement. Whilst it was a non-standard teaching week, and the current MSc students were hard at work on their ‘Whole Dancer Study’, I was kept very busy and engaged with a variety of tasks and responsibilities.

Personally, an area that I wanted to expand my knowledge on was the equipment and processes used to tackle research and collect data. Before the week, I only had a basic understanding of what some of the equipment was without ever visually or kinaesthetically working with it. I spent the week working closely with the lab technician Scott Sinclair, who taught me valuable lab skills and how the skills can be applied to research. Whilst at first glance the reality of remembering the theory and application behind the equipment was slightly daunting, I instantly got hands on with it all and got a real taster of what researching using the equipment entails. The most exciting aspect of it all was being able to observe a POP screening on two lovely young dancers (aged 11 and 12). It was a chance for me to see all the tests including; VO2 Max, Beighton/Brighton and Bioelectrical Impedance in action. I was fascinated to see the screening being performed by two minors and it sparked many questions throughout the day and from the results about the screening being undertaken by physically developing children. Working within the lab and also being able to observe student self-practice sessions, I was able to enhance my understanding within the area of physiology which I previously hadn’t had much exposure to. Throughout my placement, lots of questions and research ideas have been generated which I will hold on to potentially for the future.

In the dance health side of Trinity Laban lead by Rachael Emms, I was able to learn about the health clinic and the wide scope of therapies available. I was given a taster of what some of the therapies are including; craniosacral, acupressure and acupuncture are and the benefits they have for dancers. I was given a taster of some of the therapies that Trinity Laban offer through a marketing photoshoot that happened for promoting the services. This also included being involved in the screening photoshoot in the lab myself.

One of the most valuable parts that I will take away from the week is the new connections I have been able to build with the wonderful and inspiring staff. Alongside working with and talking to Scott and Rachel, I spent a lot of the week with the three current Graduate Interns; this included Dance Science MSc graduate and Health Graduate Intern Rebecca Appleton, Dance Science MSc Graduate and Dance Science Graduate Intern Anna May Williams and MFA candidate and Dance Science Graduate Intern Elizabeth Yutzey. All three spoke enthusiastically about their time on the course and it was interesting to hear about their varied thesis’ from hypermobility to creativity, as well as their current roles at Trinity Laban. I was able to have conversations with the Head of Dance Science Professor Emma Redding and the Dance Science Programme leader Dr Liliana Araújo. Emma and Liliana inspired me greatly both in their achievements in research and their on-going success in academia. It was extremely beneficial to be able to talk to them in detail about the MSc in Dance Science and rewarding to have conversations with them about my growing areas of interest.

Overall, my week at Trinity Laban has been a gratifying opportunity. Everyone I had the privilege to meet were very welcoming and it was lovely to feel like part of the team. My passion for Dance Science after this week has matured and grown and I am eager to learn more and have a career in the dance science industry.

Thank you everyone and I hope to see you all again soon!

Beth

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