Promoting Health and Wellness in Ballet: An Exploration of Dancer’s Risk Factors and Prioritizing Health

Researchers in Fort Worth are studying the health of female ballet dancers – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Ballet is a demanding performance art that requires immense dedication and sometimes involves making sacrifices to reach the professional level. Researchers at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are studying how these sacrifices can affect a dancer’s health, specifically their bone health. Dr. Yein Lee, the Fellowship Director at UNT Health Science Center, mentions that they often see these issues in clinic from a sports medicine perspective.

Dr. Stephen Fung, a Performing Arts Medicine Fellow, was motivated to find out why dancers experience stress injuries and fractures through his personal experience as a Dancesport competitor. He initiated a study to identify risk factors and solutions to prevent these injuries in ballet dancers. His research focuses on women dancers, acknowledging the biological differences that can impact their health.

Historically, female ballet dancers have faced immense pressure to be strong yet maintain a slender appearance. Dr. Fung highlights the importance of addressing the aesthetics that young dancers are concerned about during their training. This pressure may lead to body image issues, eating disorders, and calorie restriction among dancers seeking a certain look.

Bethany Bailey, a dance student and teacher at TCU, adds to the discussion by mentioning the prevalence of eating disorders in the dance community. She emphasizes the importance of promoting a healthy mindset and body image in dance departments. Bailey shares her personal experience with ballet, which she has been involved in since childhood.

Dr. Lee observes a cultural shift within the dance world towards prioritizing the health and well-being of dancers. The goal of their research is to create a self-assessment checklist for women ballet dancers to identify their risk factors and promote their overall health and enjoyment of dancing. Ultimately, the research aims to support dancers in staying healthy while pursuing their passion.

In conclusion, ballet is an art form that requires immense dedication and sometimes involves making sacrifices to reach the professional level. However, it is essential for researchers like those at UNT Health Science Center to study how these sacrifices can affect a dancer’s health specifically their bone health.

Dr Fung’s study aims to identify risk factors for stress injuries and fractures among women ballet dancers by focusing on biology differences that may impact them.

Bethany Bailey also added her insight on how young dancers face pressure from maintaining slender appearance which may lead them towards disordered eating habits.

Overall this research aims to promote healthy mindset and body image within dance departments while supporting dancers in staying healthy while pursuing their passion for ballet art form.

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