On October 25, 2014 I attended a very special conference that I didn't even know existed a month prior: the 5th Annual Dance Medicine Conference, sponsored by Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center. (Big shoutout to Career Transition for Dancers for always sharing info regarding stellar events, like this one). The conference theme was Optimizing Dance Performance: An Interactive Conference for Dancers, Choreographers and Teachers.
I've included a list below of the conference speakers, panel experts, and breakout sessions. What I really want to do now is share a core takeaway.
According to Dr. Nancy Kadel (orthopedic surgeon, President of Performing Arts Medical Association, and former professional dancer), dancers are just slightly more aerobically fit than their non-dancing, even sedentary, counterparts. As fit as professional dancers are, studies have shown that they actually don't train their aerobic fitness outside of class and rehearsals, which contributes to lower aerobic capacity and increased risk of injury. In sum, hours and hours of dance classes and rehearsals does not necessarily result in optimal fitness.
At first, this surprised me, but on second thought, it actually didn't. I've danced in various ensembles, observed others' rehearsals, and participated in many classes over the years and the truth is, there is quite a bit of down time. We might technically be on the clock for hours, but there are so many stops and starts with figuring out choreography, blocking and socializing, that we are not working out for the duration of that studio time.
The prescription: It would do dancers a world of good to spend at least 30 minutes a day, most days, engaged in some type of sustained aerobic activity that gets the heart rate up and keeps it up. In addition to class. Take it a step further by adding non-aerobic, or strength training to the regimen. Margo Apostolos' Health and Conditioning for Dancers breakout session brilliantly discussed ways that dancers could enhance their overall fitness through cross training, strength training, aerobic training, and circuit training.
On another topic, a number of speakers talked about the psychology and mindset of performance success. I was intrigued by what they had to say and grateful to have heard it because of the business ideas that began percolating in my creative head. Sorry to do the teaser thing, but I'll share my takeaways on mindset and psychology in a future post.
In the meantime, here's the list of what went down:
Nancy Kadel, MD - President, Performing Arts Medical Association PAMA
Steve Miller, CEO Agassi-Graf Foundation and Sport Psychology Expert
Jodie Gates, Joe Tremaine, Derrick Schrader, and Saleemah Knight. Moderator - Margo Apostolos.
Red Flags for Dancers: Foot and Ankle Topics
Red Flag for Dancers: Hip and Knee Topics
Red Flag for Dancers: Back/Spine Topics
Optimizing Nutrition for Performance
Recognizing Oversue and Fatigue
Trauma: Urgency vs. Emergency
Health and Conditioning for Dancers
The conference date has been set for next year. Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 24, 2015 @ Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles.
Words to Live By
Be super kind to yourself.