News: Could bio-banding cut risk of injury for ballet dancers?

Wednesday 27 April 2016 by Denise Drake

Young dancers

Grouping young ballet dancers by their developmental rather than chronological age could help lower their risk of injury, a study has suggested.

Dancers in vocational training are grouped by age and with full-time training for up to six days a week from age 11. Girls of the same chronological age vary greatly biologically, with some maturing in advance or delay of others. Researchers from Bath and Bristol universities said the current practices for grouping and evaluating young dancers could be counterproductive.

“This is not about favouring late or early-maturing girls, but rather levelling the playing field and providing the most developmentally appropriate learning contexts so that dancers, irrespective of physicality, have the same opportunity and aren’t put under undue stress at the wrong points in their development, which can cause injury” explains Dr Sean Cumming of the University of Bath.

The researchers, who are working closely with national body One Dance UK, are planning to develop ­education resources on the topic of growth and maturation for dance.

Read the full article in The Guardian, 19 April 2016.

The study is published in the Journal of Adolescence Volume 47, February 2016, Pages 81–89.

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