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 Post subject: Social Dance Injuries
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 11:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I had an interesting conversation the other day with a shop assistant who when she found out I was a dance teacher proceeded to tell me how she used to enjoy line dancing but had to stop due to a back injury she sustained while dancing.<P>As the conversation progressed it became apparent to me that the injury was probably sustained due to the fact that with a lot of "social" dance forms participants leap straight in without the usual warm-up that theatre and ballet dance students are introduced to from day one.<P>What are all your views on this. Are their any teachers or participants of Social dance on these boards that can give a more informed comment on structures of social dance classes. My point is really that often social dance forms like, line dancing, jive, salsa, ceroc etc are sometimes an Adult's first introduction to dance and maybe a stimulus for them to try other forms as well and therefore an unfortunate injury could be off putting. Is this woman's experience rare or are a lot of injuries sustained in social dance because it is social and therefore has a fairly loose structure - I would appreciate any more well informed comments on this subject than my own ramblings above.


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 Post subject: Re: Social Dance Injuries
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 11:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
This is a very interesting question Joanne.<P>I have found this to be very common, actually, among people who engage in less formal dance or cheerleading. <P>The moves for cheerleaders are very demanding; splits, lifts, dives, spins, etc. And yet they do no warm up whatsoever. Of course, I am not here speaking of each and every drill/cheerleading team, but the ones I have come across personally. They just expect the kids to leap right in - and the children of course do just that.<P>The rate of injury is rampant - some quite severe. When I hear about this I always offer the advice and example of how dancers do it, but they tend to think this is strange or just plain old time consuming. Until they are injured, that is.<P>The same is true from what I know of ballroom dancing and street dancing. It is really sad to see these otherwise enthusiasitic people pay a heavy price. As it is, even with warming up, dancers do get injured, but how much more so without an adequate warmup.<P>People also often mistake warming up with wearing sweat clothes. I have even had several tell me that they smear their legs with a product like Ben-Gay - which is just a topical ointment. When I try to tell them that neither heavy clothes nor a topical oitment will confer true warmup to the body, they are incredulous. <P>Until they get injured..........


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 Post subject: Re: Social Dance Injuries
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Cheerleading and Street Dance have become very popular in the UK recently and while i am sure that their are a lot of credible teachers about who do warm their students up and also make sure they can walk before they run their are also lots of others who will just teach them flashy moves to begin with to attract them in without any regard for safety.<P>Fo example i gave a taster Tap Class at a local leisure centre a couple of months ago. The class before mine was a street dance class and the instructor had the class sliding across the floor in one routine. This taster session was for people of all abilities but mainly beginners and was only half an hour! I was slightly disturbed by this - but I heard some of the comments of students coming out of the class that they were glad the instructor had trusted them with more complex moves unlike some of the other sessions. I wonder whether they were still saying that the next morning.<P>My worry is with all forms of dance you should have some form of warm-up if you don't you risk injury. The type of people who will be tempted into social forms of dance are normally beginners with little or no previous experience of dance - these are the very people most susceptible to injury anyway. If they are injured it will most likely put them off dance for life - hence they will never experience the joys and benefits of a properly structured class.<P>I would be interested to hear about anyone who runs a social dance class and is able to incorporate a warm-up, without it seeming out of place.


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 Post subject: Re: Social Dance Injuries
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
excellent points, joanne! i don't have any social dance experience, but this doesn't surprise me at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Social Dance Injuries
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 3:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I have had some experience in teaching social dancers. I had several students who were at the "gold" level of ballroom dancing. They needed ballet lessons because there are some similarities in vocabulary; chaine' turns, attitudes, etc. <P>Usually they wanted private lessons so we could work on some very specific aspects of dance. Of course, I started every lesson with a barre. They were all very surprised that we just didn't jump right in. I carefully explained what the barre was and what it meant and was meant to do. Most of them understood and after a while appreciated it. Several even incorporated it into their regimen for their ballroom lessons. <P>However, there were a few who just couldn't or wouldn't understand the necessity. The common excuse was "well, I have never gotten injured". This was usually told to me right after they spent quite some time telling me about a pulled groin muscle or a hurt knee.<P>They didn't seem to see a connection. Trying to be a responsible teacher, I refused to give these few a private lesson without first a barre warmup. As I understand it, there is no real warm up for ballroom dancing. Certainly not as concentrated or focused as the ballet barre.<P>The cheerleaders, being mostly teenagers, were even less understanding and more impatient. Sorry, kids, we don't move without a warmup.........<P>However, the ice skaters seem to understand and were willing to do a complete warm up.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Social Dance Injuries
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2000 1:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 774
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
I used to go out dancing in clubs or wherever wearing these incredibly big heavy boots and am now rather convinced it was not good for my knees. Jumping up and down on cement wearing these gigantic weights tied to my feet may not have been the greatest idea. Especially since I knew better - about warming up and things in dance CLASSES. Somehow it didn't always occur to me to apply what I knew from class to outside of class.<P>This certainly isn't meant as an advertisement of past foolishness (oh, I'm sure there's some in the future too), but rather a comment about taking care of ourselves as people, not just in a certain defined dance environment. Our dance-related knowledge is valuable in other areas than our 'usual'.


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 Post subject: Re: Social Dance Injuries
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2000 7:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
My dance related knowledge has taught me how to fall down. You think I am kidding, but I am not - it has helped when I take an occasional spill from my bike, for instance. <P>I was talking yesterday to a ballroom dance competitor about this subject. He said that before a competition they will warm up (not nearly as formal a thing as a ballet barre) but for regular class the only warmup they do is a slower dance. They do have quite a number of injuries. This particular dancer takes ballet class (that's where I was talking to him) and he says it has helped enormously.


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