The Fusion of Dance, Pedagogy, Dance Medicine & Science

The academy trains teachers who are first and foremost interested in the welfare of their students, prevention of injuries, and the preservation of  the individual physical and mental health of (young) dancers in education!,

The study and academy aim at teachers or dancers who understand the importance of a fusion of dance pedagogy and dance medicine to enhance the health and wellbeing of dancers - turning the occupation of a teacher into an inner calling more than a job after an active dancer's career.

The principal of the academy, Judith-Elisa Kaufmann, is a renowned teacher for dance medicine, dance science, and dance pedagogy worldwide, teaching at universities, schools, theatres, and institutions. Her Book "Dance Pedagogy & Dance Medicine - The Fusion of the Dancer's Future" was published in 2016 (German Version "Tanzpädagogik & Tanzmedizin - Die Symbiose der Zukunft". English version coming soon!).

read the dancer's magazine "Interview with Judith-Elisa Kaufmann"

Professional dance is high performance sport. Dancers work a higher number of hours with less medical care and extremely high risk of injury than many other athletes. Out of this reason, the call for dance medical care is getting louder, but is apparently not part of the decision-making instances yet. A social and political change in thinking has become necessary. Dance medicine and education must be recognized and politically anchored as professional departments in science and education ministries. In order to enhance Austria’s dance medical standards up to internationally recognized standards, healthy dancers need a health-preserving work environment. Therefore, dance medicine demands for the following measures in prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation:

There is still no legally binding requirement for dance instructors and coaches to perform an educational-medical in-depth study. This would be necessary to guarantee a recognition of and respect for every dancer’s individual physical and psychological needs, as well as the implementation of scientific training principles. Compulsory warm-up / cool-down, adequate floors and healthy and safe surroundings, periodization and proper training plans, nutritional / drinking habits to prevent eating disorders, dealing with limitations of physical capabilities, screening programs to secure health and enhance training, dance-medical based tests on aptitude etc. must become standard in dance institutions. The demands that are placed on dancers are rising constantly. As a result, training concepts should not remain unchanged!

Respect from institutions and trainers for young dancers who provide their body as athletic instrument for artistic work already in a very young age is as necessary as respect for the profession of dance teachers and trainers. This needs political changes. The lack of dance teachers’ education often leads to a lack of prestige for educators, who therefore can’t enjoy high self-esteem. The combination of these grievances characterizes the atmosphere of an outdated education climate. Dance medical knowledge for dancers and access to appropriate specialized health care professions, as well as supportive measures, such as specific compensation of physical deficits through additional training must be open to dancers.

(Dance) medical care for dancers and dance trainers in institutions, as well as monitorizing injury rates of dancers must be a political commitment. Successful treatment depends on dealing with pain and injury as well as subsequent avoidance of causes which have led to chronic injuries. If dancers are not allowed to respect individual boundaries and pain, it will not be surprising that the injury rate of dancers is alarmingly high and the personal responsibility, however, is low. Threats of dismissals because of injury and the need of sick leaves should be made indictable. Furthermore, first aid through trainers is only and foremost guaranteed by their compulsory education and knowledge, and would avoid a lot of mistakes which happen in primary care.

Recognition of dance medicine and dance as a competitive sport would provide options for rapid injury diagnostic through immediately available appointments for imaging techniques and cooperation with insurance companies - something that is taken for granted in many sports, but is not even discussed politically in dance. There is prompt need for financial, structural and human resources, sustainability and inter-professional collaboration. Education and training of health professionals, insurance companies and dance artists are necessary. One must not disregard the human right of dancers to work in an environment that does not make sick, their right on regeneration, fair contracts, payment and insurance. Public and institutional policymakers have to take into account the long-term consequences resulting from poor health of dancers and the ensuing financial losses for communities and culture. Dance medical assistance, already in prevention, through education, treatment and networking pays off especially in the long term: a reduction in hidden costs (e.g. compensatory rehearsals and costumes, sick leave, rehabilitation) enables long-term financial sustainability of health-promoting measures for dancers and an increase in artistic performance.

To achieve this, dance institutions will need financial and political assistance from those who enjoy the results of high quality performance: the public. Each individual attending dance performances could and would contribute to better care of dancers, if they were informed of the very need of all the stated above. [Excerpt from "Dance medical demands" by Judith-Elisa Kaufmann & Anita Kiselka, MSc; Dancer's Magazine 2015]

Hence, the most important criteria for enrolment in the degree is an individual interest of the student in dance medicine and the motivation to change the present lack of compulsory high-quality dance-teacher's education for the sake of the dancers.


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excerpt from Kaufmann, Judith-Elisa: Dance, Teaching, Dance Medicine & Science - The Symbiosis of the Future, Remscheid. Rediroma-Publisher. 2021. Book series in 4 volumes, available starting with Spring 2021  (publications volume 1 to 4 spring until winter 2021)


The goal is a maximum of performance through a maximum of health for the individual dancer.
The term “dance medicine” has established itself during the last decade. Yet, many people ask themselves - and me - what the term actually means. Dance medicine does not equal dance therapy. Dance medicine1,2,3,4 is the field of study in medicine that is dedicated to the health aspects of dancers of all styles and levels and shall not be confused with the psychotherapeutic dance therapy. Dance medicine is comparable to sports medicine. Many label it as the part of sports medicine that specializes in dancers.
Among doctors, therapists, and trainers/educators, within dance medicine, there are specialists for certain dance styles and those who care for dancers in general. Just like there are specialists for different sports in sports medicine, there ought to be different types of experts for dance styles in dance medicine. A ballet dancer will have different injuries and require different knowledge than a flamenco or tap dancer, for example. This will be discussed at length in this chapter concerning injury prevention. Ideally, former dancers become doctors or therapists after their active career in dance and dedicate their knowledge to help dancers.
The word “dance medicine” developed at the end of the twentieth century through publications on the topic and the formation of dance medical organizations. In 1990, “IADMS”, the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science was brought to life. Shortly after - in 1997 - “tamed”, the organization for dance medicine in German speaking countries followed. In 1661, when King Louis XIV founded the first ballet academy in Paris the dance masters started to write on dance pedagogy, the study of dance education and partially already on dance medicine. Then, the first dissertation was written by a Frenchman. Namely the Parisian Remy5, who published his paper in 1824 at the medical faculty in Paris. The first paper in German language followed in 1948 and was titled “Arbeitsmedizinische Untersuchungen an Balletttänzern”. It already touched on topics such as malnutrition and eating disorders, which are still very current today.6
Dr. Josef Huwyler is considered the father of modern dance medicine, which back then rather was understood as “ballet medicine”.7 The new edition of his 1995 publication was published in 2005 as “Tanzmedizin: Anatomische Grundlagen und gesunde Bewegung“ and featured the word “dance medicine” in its title. In my book’s bibliography, you can find a selection of publications, which still count for great works of dance medicine and dance science in the present.
Besides the important work of tending to a dancer’s injuries, dance medicine focuses on injury prevention. This book wants to include trainers, choreographers and parents. Since many dance styles such as urban dance styles, flamenco, irish dance, or tango aren’t necessarily being taught by educators but are much rather influenced by the dancers and choreographers themselves, these styles can prove difficult for dance medicine to prevent injuries because there is no teacher or educator to communicate the ideas of dance medical injury prevention. Hence, this book is addressing dancers themselves as well.
In styles such as classical ballet that do include educators, it is hard for dance medicine to prevent injuries of different reasons: The historic tradition of dance education is still focused on the art form and not on the high performance sports. Today’s high performance sports require different support and education of the trainers than dance styles, which were taught until the early twentieth century. To minimize injuries and maximize performance, dance medicine has to become an obligatory and natural part of dance pedagogy and teaching.
The preventive dance medicine applies to all dance styles and all levels, amateurs / recreational dancers as well as professionals and dancers in vocational education. Of course, many basics apply in different volume and intensity. Yet, limited resources are at both dancer’s disposal which are their bodies and a limited amount of time in education and performance, after which an adaptation in training for recreational dancers as well as a second life path for professionals has to be considered. Here, a profession in dance medicine and science might be a choice for a second career.
1 Miller C. dance medicine. Current Concepts. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 17. 803-811.2006.
2 Ryan AJ. Early History of dance medicine. J Dance Med Sci. 1(1). 30-34. 1997.
3 Kravitz SR. dance medicine. Clin Podiatry. 1(2). 417-430. 1984.
4 Hahnengress ML. Musik- und Tanzmedizin - Künstlerisches Pendant der Sportmedizin. Dte Zeitschr Sportmedizin. 62(6). 141-142. 2011.
5 Magriel PD. A Selected Bibliography of the Dance in Health, Hygiene, and Physiology. Research Quarterly. American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. 10(2). 1939.
6 Wanke E. und DA Groneberg. Tanzmedizin. Maximale Anforderungen. Deutsches Ärzteblatt. 109(37). 1835. 2012.
7 Huwyler J. Der Tänzer und sein Körper. Aspekte des Tanzens aus ärztlicher Sicht. Balingen. Perimed-spitta Verlag. 1995.
8 Scott WA. Maximizing performance and the prevention of injuries in competitive athletes. Current Sports Med Rep. 1(3). 184-190. 2002.

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