Reflection on the 6th Annual Dance Science Networking and Careers Day

The 6th Annual Dance Science Networking and Careers Day

On June 15th, Trinity Laban Dance Science hosted the 6th Annual Networking and Careers Day. Current and prospective students, past graduates, and industry professionals came together to discuss the status of dance science and the pathways to pursuing a career in this field. Presentations covered career journeys in dance science and conducting research in different contexts. Dr. Liliana Araujo, programme leader of Dance Science, moderated a panel of industry experts talking about the opportunities and challenges in dance science. The day was bursting with exciting conversations between old friends and new about how to move forward in dance science.

DSC_6947

Kayla McClellan, a first year MFA student, attended the event. Below is her reflections on the day.

Tell us a bit about what the event was about…

The networking day was a time and space to listen to individuals’ interactions with the Dance Science field. It spanned the spectrum of those with an initial interest in the field, to students practicing Dance Science, and professionals working in the field.

What compelled you to attend the event?

As a current MFA in Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, I found it important to interact with peers outside of the conservatoire. This provided me with an even more robust picture of what types of research and work are being produced right now.

What was the highlight of the event for you and why?

I found the socializing parts of the event to be the most beneficial. We were given many opportunities to further unpack what others had presented on a more personal level.

What was the key ‘take home’ message that you got from the event?

My key ‘take home’ message from the event was that the Dance Science field is rapidly growing; however, it’s important to keep in contact with your peers in order to progress it in the most effective and efficient way possible.

DSC_6952

What would you say to IADMS student members who might consider attending a similar event? 

I would tell them to absolutely attend, it’s so important to be in situations that challenge and sometimes shift your perspectives. After all, the dance art-form is continuously shifting and we must keep up with those involved.

Written by Elizabeth Yutzey, Graduate Intern for Dance Science and

Kayla McClellan, Current MFA Dance Science Student at Trinity Laban

 

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

Variety of Uses for Sports Massage

What is sports massage? 

Sports massage is a type of therapy that focuses on the soft tissues in the body. This includes skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments and fascia which is a form of connective tissue that lines other soft tissues. Sports massage involves the manipulation of these soft tissues and can also include different massage techniques and types of stretching

 

JK__0015

Image: Sports massage, JK Photography 

What is sports massage suitable for?

Sports massage can be suitable for dealing with many different conditions from sport related overuse issues, to back pain from your office chair. These benefits can be split into four main areas; injury, maintenance, pre-event and post-event.

Injury:  Sports massage has many benefits that can help reduce the risk of injury as well as be used for remedial purposes to help reduce tightness and pain. Sports massage is great at helping to detect muscular imbalances and any potential deep tissue damage which can result in a reduced risk of injury. A key benefit of sports massage is increasing blood flow through the tissues which can lead to faster recovery times and reduce the delayed onset of muscle soreness (or DOMS for short).

Maintenance: Having regular massages can help to keep muscles healthy and supple and can reduce the need for future treatment. Studies have shown that having regular sports massages can help to improve range of motion and flexibility. This in itself can also contribute to lowering injury risk, especially among dancers, for whom flexibility is desired. Having regular massages can also help to identify any particular areas of tension or stress and can increase your overall awareness and education surrounding your body. This can in turn help you to improve your performance and self-manage any conditions you have.

Pre-event: Feeling nervous and tense before a show or performance? Sports massage can stimulate circulation through the body and reduce tension which can be beneficial to help you be on top form before that audition!

Post-event: Sports massage can be just as useful after an event! It can help speed up recovery times, remove toxins and waste products from the body, de-stress you and help fight any delayed muscle soreness you may feel the following day. 

 

JK__0007

Image: Sports massage, JK Photography 

Sports massage is one of those treatments which can be used in a variety of different ways, and is most effective when used regularly. So whether your a performer, office worker or athlete sports massage can be a useful tool to help maintain a healthy body and banish those tense muscles when they arise!

 

Written by Rebecca Appleton 

Graduate Intern for Health 

 

 

 

 

ENJOYING CHRISTMAS BREAK? The benefits of rest and relaxation

As Christmas fast approaches, many of you will be taking time away from the studio or work to take a well-earned break! But a lot of people don’t know enough about the multiple benefits that utilising proper rest and relaxation can bring.

‘Rest’ is anything that gives you a break and can be either physical or mental. There are multiple benefits for everyone and especially for performing artists. This is partly a result of the many physiological changes that can occur when utilising rest and relaxation successfully. These changes can include

  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced muscle tension
  • reduced sensitivity to pain
  • improved immunity
  • increased circulation
  • slowed breathing rate

Another key benefit of rest and relaxation is that it can reduce the effects of stress. Stress can cause disruption to daily life in many forms including sleep and digestion, as well as increasing aches and pains and the likelihood of getting ill (coughs, colds etc.). Taking time out to rest and relax can help to tackle stress and keep our bodies and minds healthy.

IMG_0004

Image: Trinity Laban matwork class; JK photography 

 

In what other ways can it benefit me as a performing artist?                       The benefits of rest and relaxation can include both physiological and behavioural advantages which can be important for performing artists. Studies have reported that relaxation can reduce mood fluctuations and increase concentration. Also, rest is key for muscle regeneration. This means that in order to see progression in physical training, one must rest or the muscles will not be able to regenerate and you will see no improvements. This is important for performing artists to keep in mind as there is often a tendency to want to train all the time and take little rest in order to improve. However, in actual fact this can inhibit physical progression and could increase the risk of injury. Research has shown that performers, especially dancers, often work through fatigue and that overuse is one of the most common causes of injuries among dancers.

Not obtaining enough rest can also increase the likelihood of overtraining and can even lead to burnout. This is a complex condition and can be acute or chronic, and is the result of a volume of activity/exercise that exceeds the performer’s capabilities. Overtraining and burnout can both increases the risk of injury also, as the body can be more susceptible to muscle damage, infections, allergies and will take longer to heal from even minor scratches. Research has also shown that taking time to review a piece of music or choreography mentally as well as physically, can be much more beneficial than just physically rehearsing alone, which could be a good way to tackle overtraining among performers.

How can I rest and relax properly?                                                                   It is ideal if you can set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to just rest and relax . This can be anything that gives your mind or body a break and can range from just having an early night or a weekend off, to participating yoga classes or doing breathing exercises. Research suggests that constructive/active rest can also be beneficial, which simply requires you to lie in a resting state and focus your mind on a particular task.

So enjoy taking some time out over Christmas to rest and relax and begin the New Year with a great start! #dancersneedrest

 

Dance Science in Houston: Reflections of IADMS 2017

In October, several members of Trinity Laban Dance Science team had the pleasure of attending the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) annual meeting in Houston, Texas. This was a four day conference, attended by delegates from all over the world, sharing the most up-to-date innovative research in the field of dance medicine and science. The event consisted of lecture and poster presentations, interactive workshops, movement sessions, round table discussions and debates on a variety of topics. These included physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, injury and much more, presented by a diverse range of speakers including physicians, physiotherapists, psychologists, dance educators and scientists. Despite the broad range of professional backgrounds, all delegates and speakers had one thing in common; an involvement in the education, health-care and wellbeing of dancers, and an overall passion for dance medicine and science.

Attending members of the team included Dr Emma Redding (Head of Dance Science), Dr Lucie Clements (Lecturer in Dance Science), Anna Williams and Elizabeth Yutzey (Dance Science Graduate Interns). Our team was also joined by many graduates of the programme and current students. Some of our team and alumni were speakers; presenting their research, leading movement sessions or participating in the panel discussions. We were present for the entire 4 days of the conference and also spent time promoting the work and educational programmes of Trinity Laban at our exhibition stand.

The conference commenced with the opening remarks by IADMS president Professor Matt Wyon, welcoming delegates and speakers and sharing highlights of the four days ahead of us. The conference kicked off to a great start for the TL Dance Science Team – we were very proud to see our very own Dr Emma Redding be presented with the IADMS Dance Educator Award. Congratulations Emma!

IADMS EMMS

Dr Emma Redding receiving the IADMS Dance Educator Award (Image: Elizabeth Yutzey)

New to the conference this year were the IADMS ‘duels’, where two researchers presented their opposing opinions on prevalent topics of debate in dance science. One notable topic of discussion was ‘Should dancers run?’ arguing whether or not dancers should use running as a form of supplementary training. Another stand out topic was ‘Dancer – athlete or artist’ – with fascinating points raised on both sides of the debate. It was a great session to start the conference and initiate debate among delegates!

Dance Science Graduate Intern Anna was the first of the TL team to present her research, delivering an oral presentation on the prevalence of hypermobility and its relationship with self-reported injury in contemporary dance students. This was Anna’s first time presenting at an international conference since graduating from the MSc programme. This was followed by 2016 graduate Nefeli Tsiouti – who presented three times throughout the conference – the first of which shared her findings of the occurrence of injury in elite break-dancers. Another one of our Dance Science graduates, Dr Sarah Kenny, presented her research on the risk factors for injury in pre-professional ballet and contemporary dancers. That afternoon, Dr Emma Redding and Dr Lucie Clements led a movement session on “Collaborative Research in Dance Science and Creative Practice”, where they talked through their 3 year study into the use of mental imagery in dance. Their workshop shared movement tasks which were included in the intervention study and the psychological ideas that underpin them.

IADMS SESSION

Dr Emma Redding & Dr Lucie Clements leading their movement sessions on Mental Imagery in Dance (Image: Elizabeth Yutzey)

To conclude the first day, a student and young professional networking event took place which was organised by the IADMS student committee, chaired by MSc graduate Siobhan Mitchell. This was a great event for students from all over the world to meet each other and exchange interests and ideas in the field of dance science. This workshop consisted of several roundtable discussions led by industry professionals from varying backgrounds, giving students and new graduates the opportunity to learn more about potential career pathways to take in the dance medicine and science field. In the evening, all delegates attended the Welcome Reception at the Health Museum, Houston, to socialise and network whilst enjoying some food and drink. A great end to the first day!

Day 2 marked the first of the ‘Special Interest’ days – ‘A Day for Teachers’. The research presented throughout this day was focused on the application of dance medicine and science into the studio, with the aim of enhancing safe and healthy teaching practices. This was another busy day for the TL team.  Firstly, graduate Siobhan Mitchell presented her PhD research on “The Early Maturing Dancer: Challenges and Advantages in UK Vocational Training” which explored the role of maturity timing in young dancers experiences of vocational training. Nefeli Tsiouti led a movement session on the ‘Breakalign Method’, a new conditioning methodology for Break-dancers. Also, Dr Emma Redding, along with Sonia Rafferty and Maggie Morris from Safe In Dance International, led a panel discussion ‘From dance artists to healthy dance advocate: a conversation.’

To finish off Day 2, the Student Committee organised a social event for all the students and recent graduates to get to know each other and network while enjoying some ice cream! It was great to see so many Trinity Laban alumni and current students! Other members of the team attended a local theatre to watch Ad Deum Dance Company, a Houston-based contemporary dance company.

IADMS EXHIBITION
Promoting TL on the exhibition stand: (L-R: Anna Williams, Dr Lucie Clements, Elizabeth Yutzey & Lauren Copping)

Saturday was the last full day of the conference, but nonetheless a full-on day for the team. Dr Emma Redding and Dr Lucie Clements both presented their research on creativity in dance, which was part of the ‘In the Dancer’s Mind’ project. Their first presentation was on a three year study into creativity and mental imagery, followed by the development of dancer’s perceptions of the creative process questionnaire. Meanwhile, for the third time, Nefeli Tsiouti presented her MSc thesis project on the cardiorespiratory fitness of elite break dancers.

As well as oral presentations, our team were presenting their work through posters and movement sessions. Soon to be MSc graduate Chloe Travers presented a poster about her undergraduate dissertation on the role of Micronutrients on soft tissue injury rehabilitation in dancers. This was followed by MSc graduate Christina Mastori, who delivered a movement session investigating sensorimotor learning principles, guiding participants through sequences which encourage instinctual movement choices, with the aim of enhancing kinaesthetic and proprioceptive skills.

Day 3 was also ‘A day for Medics’ – the second of the special interest days – which included many presentations from a clinical perspective, delivered by many different medical practitioners who work closely with or specialise in dance. A vast selection of studies were presented on topics to do with dance injuries, surgery and methods of rehabilitation. To round up a great day, all guests learned some traditional Texas line dancing at the IADMS party.

The final day was a great conclusion to the event, as our team had finished their individual presentations and could relax and enjoy the final day with an array of presentations and interactive sessions to choose from. Dr Emma Redding and Dr Sarah Needham-Beck (along with other industry professionals) took part in a panel discussion directed by pre-planned questions from students and recent graduates. The panel discussed their own in dance medicine and science, reflecting on their career journeys and highlights. Dr Sarah Kenny shared more of her research on injury in dance, delivering a lecture presentation on the interpretations of injury burden in pre-professional dancers.

One particular aspect of the conference that went down well with the TL team was the movement sessions. It was great to attend these workshops to practically, experience the research and knowledge being developed within the field. This was a unique experience that makes the IADMS annual meeting stand out from your usual conference setting.

Another stand out feature of this years’ annual meeting was the IADMS mobile phone app, which allowed delegates to access the schedule and live updates. The structure of the conference meant there were up to four presentations or activity sessions running simultaneously, giving all attendees a choice to pick an area of interest – the conference app proved very useful in making a quick decision of where to go next!  In addition, the conference app could be used to rate and review the presentations and speakers. This was a great opportunity for first-time presenters to receive feedback from other researchers in the field.

As well as being a great networking event for professionals and current researchers, the conference was equally supportive and accommodating for students, from all backgrounds including dance/sports science, kinesiology, physiotherapy and medicine. We were very proud to see so many TL Dance Science alumni, students as well as our Dance Science team present at the event! As our Dance Science programme has produced graduates from all over the world, it was great to all be together in one place, sharing and discussing dance science.

Our Dance Science team and alumni had a fascinating and insightful time at the conference, learning about the current research happening all over the world, as well as having the opportunity to present our own research, represent the work of Trinity Laban and make connections! We are all very excited that next year’s IADMS annual meeting will be held in Helsinki, Finland – we hope to see you there!

IADMS GROUP

TL Dance Science Staff, Alumni and Current Students (Image: Elizabeth Yutzey)

To take a closer look at what our team got up to, or to learn more about our department — like and follow our social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trinitylabandancescience/

Instagram: @trinitylaban_dancescience

Written by Anna Williams MSc., Dance Science Graduate Intern

 

STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Push!  Pull! Get down! … you may be familiar with these three terms  if you’ve ever attended one of our Strength & Conditioning or HIIT classes in the Conditioning Studio here at Trinity Laban. These free classes are beneficial and open to ALL Trinity Laban students which can support your practice as a dancer, musician, or musical theatre student.

Are you thinking strength and conditioning doesn’t apply to you and your practice? Never trained for strength or conditioning and don’t know how to start?

Read on to learn more about supporting your individual practice and how Trinity Laban is here to support you.

#KickStartSC IS for You!

DSC_0465

Image: Chris Nash Photography and Random Dance

What the science says:

Whether you’re a music student, dance student, or musical theatre student, maintaining physical fitness is important for performance enhancement and injury prevention. Numerous studies on the physical demands of dance have shown that the cardiorespiratory requirements of dance classes are significantly lower than dance performance. This gap between the demands of class and performance leave dancers unprepared for the rigor of performance, resulting in fatigue and in some cases, injury. Further, a high frequency of injury in dancers has been linked to insufficient levels of strength and endurance. It has been recommended that dancers train strength, especially for areas of the body that receive extra load during training, and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which most closely simulates a dance performance setting.

Training in music presents a different set of physical demands on the body. A study examining the physiological demands of music found that music is an intermittent activity with fluctuating cardiorespiratory demands. It was suggested that interval training, such as HIIT, would be a beneficial form of supplementary training to support a musician’s training.  Other studies highlight the high occurrence of overuse injuries in musicians, as well as injuries caused by bad technique habits, and postural misalignments. Strength—especially in areas such as the core or the limbs required to hold or play the musician’s instrument—is needed to support a musicians’ performance without injury.

According to a study from Medical Problems of Performing Artists, musical theatre performers are the “triathletes” of the performing arts. This field of the performing arts involves elements of both dance and music and therefore requires the physical demands of both fields. Additionally, singing while dancing proposes unique demands on the performers’ breathing patterns. Like in dance, it was found that in-class training does not meet the demands of performance in musical theatre. One study found that 46% of their participants reported receiving two injuries per year and 30% receiving three or four per year, with the most common being injuries of the lower extremities.  Based on these findings, it is important for musical theatre performers to engage in supplementary fitness training to prepare for performance conditions.

JK__0478

Image: Conditioning Studio at TL, JK Photography.

#KickStartSC:

For the first time, the Trinity Laban Conditioning Studio will be putting on a Kick-Start series of strength and conditioning classes taught by Trinity Laban alumni Khyle Eccles, MSc Dance Science, specializing in strength and conditioning for performing artists. This series, which will take place during the first week of Term One, will focus on introducing students to using the Conditioning Studio for supplementary strength and conditioning training.

Khyle 1.jpg

Image: Khyle Eccles

Over the previous year, the Strength & Conditioning and HIIT classes taught by Khyle have helped students from all programs to increase their fitness levels and aid them in training and performance. These classes are also great resources for learning principles of strength and conditioning that can be applied to one’s own practice. In the past, students have learned the importance of warm-up and ways to incorporate a sufficient warm up into their practice, how to use all of the various pieces of equipment that exist in the conditioning studio, and that strength and conditioning can be fun and exciting! If Khyle’s enthusiasm and great dance moves don’t get you hooked on these classes, then the benefits on your training will. Each class targets different aspects of training, so attendance at these classes will always apply to you and could result in increased jump height for all the dancing needs, increased endurance for long performances, or increased upper body strength for holding up those instruments day after day.

Come join us this coming week for #KickStartSC and see what this is all about!

Written by Elizabeth Yutzey

Dance Science Graduate Intern

Reflection on placement with Trinity Laban Dance Science

Recently I completed a 40 hour placement with Trinity Laban in the Dance Science and Health departments. I gained an insight into the research that takes place at Trinity Laban, the MSc Dance Science programme, and the busy lives of everyone involved in making it such a wonderful and inspiring place to be.

I’m currently a third year student on the undergraduate Dance course at Kingston University and planned to do this placement in the hope of finding out more about the Dance Science world and what career paths I could take in this area. Let’s not forget that Trinity Laban offered the first Dance Science Master’s degree in the world, so it really felt like I was at the heart of all the action, at the number one place to be! It was really interesting to talk to the likes of Dr Emma Redding (Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban) and Edel Quin (Programme Leader MSc Dance Science at Trinity Laban), who both have a lot of experience in Dance Science and have developed the Dance Science course at Trinity Laban. But it was equally fascinating to talk to the Graduate Interns (who had completed the MSc at Trinity Laban), and everyone in between, to discover everyone’s plans for the future.

I was also lucky enough to undertake my placement the same week that the Dance Science department had their Health Interdisciplinary Day, and so I learnt the difficulties of ‘measuring’ results in research studies. I also learnt the difference dance can make in community settings, and the wide range of participants the department work with, whether school children or hospital patients. What I found most valuable, not only on this day but throughout the whole week, was the impact that qualitative data has. Before I started my placement I had only thought about the importance and relevance of quantitative data. Over the week, I learnt that deciding what to measure and recording qualitative changes is really hard, as in the dance field researchers are dealing with the complexity of the human body and not just a ‘lab rat’. The problem the Dance Science world then face is that, given how new and evolving the field is, it is a challenge to guess what kind of research will be awarded funding.

rhiannon

It was also exciting working with Lucie Clements (PhD Candidate and Guest Lecturer), getting a sneak peek into the psychological work the department are currently doing with international colleagues on the motivational environments dancers work in and the type of environment dancers would prefer. This allowed me to learn more about the psychological side of Dance Science.  When I arrived at Trinity Laban I only really had basic knowledge on the physiological side of the field and this is what attracted me towards the area. I left Trinity Laban having more knowledge on both physical and mental aspects, and if anything being more interested into how psychological research in Dance Science can help not only dancers but also other communities.

Overall I can say that I really enjoyed my week long placement in the Dance Science and Health departments at Trinity Laban. All the staff and students were really welcoming, which made every activity enjoyable whether interviewing staff, learning about the equipment in the science lab and conditioning studio, or even formatting documents! Now I have completed my placement I can say I’m even more eager to have a career within Dance Science and so I would like to thank everyone who helped or talked to me during the week.

 

I hope to see you all soon!

 

Rhiannon Bromley, BA Dance student, Kingston University.