Ballet News Reviews | The Healthy Dancer – ABT Guidelines for Dancer Health
Taking their responsibilities as a national ballet company resposibly, American Ballet Theatre brought together a medical advisory board to help with health guidelines in their National Training Curriculum. The medical professionals involved were from a wide range of disciplines – physical therapy, sports medicine, nutrition and orthopedics. Following its success the company decided to publish the guidelines more widely so that dancers, students, teachers, coaches and parents could benefit from the advice, and it’s called The Healthy Dancer.
The book is divided into three parts – the first looks at anatomy and kinesiology with a particular focus on injury prevention and recovery and the text is clear and aided by photographs and drawings.
The second part looks at the specifics relating to the development and health of the young dancer, addressing phases of development, the role of the teacher and parent for each stage, psychological and emotional factors of dance training, nutrition and recommendations for healthy strength and flexibility training.
The final section looks at risk management and recommendations for teachers to create a healthy training environment, outlining recommended safety policies and practices for dance studios, so the book comprehensively covers what is necessary to promote healthy dancers.
If you’re looking for clearly defined health guidelines to use as a basis for training and working as a dancer with great health, this is a good handbook to read. It’s accessible, the text is not too dense and the medical terminology is used where necessary but not to the detriment of understanding, for those without science degrees. For this reason it’s possible to read specific chapters as and when needed; to seek further advice and to back up your own knowledge of what’s recommended and what isn’t.