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IADMS '14 Symposium; The Effects of Touch For Proprioception

Recently I had the opportunity to give a presentation regarding the final and main project I did during my Dance Science masters degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music & Dance in London in 2012.

SOMAnatomics practice was developed and based in this research.


In this research the participants were people in the age range of 20-35 that had no previous dance training and were experiencing intense pain due to chronic overuse or misuse of their body. These people suffered from lower back pain, sciatica, stabbing shin and feet pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, burning in shoulders, ribs and neck muscles.

For most of the participants, although their rehabilitation period as asigned by their physiotherapist, chiropractor or other previously visited practitioner had ended, they were still experiencing pain and could not assume their everyday life normally because of their movement restrictions.

During the research the participants worked on their sensory awareness and response to external and internal changes while getting acquainted to a deeper anatomical understanding.

This was an exercise intervention that lasted 3 weeks and it included both individual and group sessions. The participants became familiar with the Contact Improvisation principles and explored their balancing abilities and sensory response system through partnering work and tactile exploration. Contact Improvisation is a partnering dance form that allows the dancers to explore their individual movement characteristics. In this dance form physical laws such as gravity, momentum, inertia,etc are used in the principles to examine the balancing abilities and the sensory response system. Constant contact with the parnter is a requirement while moving which in turn creates trust and gives space to explore your movement limitations. Falling techniques from the martial arts and specifically Aikido are used in this dance form to avoid injuries.

The participants undertook balancing tests prior and after the intervention and the results showed a significant improvement on the balancing ability of all participants in the test after the intervention. The participants were also asked both times to evaluate their performance according to their perception. Their opinion matched the test results. An interview also took place at the end of the intervention where the participants were asked to discuss their experience of the intervention and if they have observed any changes in their pain or movement restrictions. All of the participants thought of the experience as positive and had a noticeable decrease in pain and movement restrictions.

The International Assosiation for Dance Medicine & Science symposium was held in Basel, Switzerland on the 16th, 17th & 18th of this October'14 and dealt with a variety of topics of the medical, artistic & performing side of dance.

See here for more info;

For most of the guests, me included, it was proven challenging to choose which presentations and/or movement sessions to follow. But after making these "difficult" choices the opportunity was there to ask, question and discuss both about what you have participated in and even about what you have missed.

I was taken away by the movement sessions of Annemari Autere (BalletBodyLogic) and Wendy Masterson (BMC) and I was impressed an inspired by the work of Merry Lynn Morris, from the University of South Florida, USA, in the application of a new mobility device for differently-abled dancers.

The professional and cultural diversity of the guests enhanced the already interdisciplinary essense of the symposium.

I would like to thank IADMS for the opportunity and the guests that attended my presentation. It was lovely to meet, mingle and chat about dance science and medicine.


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