“Research Shows” the benefit of sprung floors

Leading up to attending The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science next week, I decided it was a good week for Research Shows, on DH!  So no quote, beautiful story, pretty pictures – well for today anyway…Yet today, I’ll educate you from inside the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science.

The journal I will be reviewing today is titled, “Effect of Reduced Stiffness Dance Flooring on Lower Extremity Joint Angular Trajectories During a Ballet Jump.”

James Hackney, P.T., Ph.D., Sara Brummel, M.F.A., Mary Newman, P.T., D.P.T, Shannon Scott, P.T., D.P.T., Matthew Reinagel, B.S., S.P.T., and Jennifer Smith, B.S., S.P.T.

Dance has a high rate of lifetime injury, this journal stating an estimated 84% rate, in ballet dancers. Therefore, dancers, dance educators, and those who support dance programs are interested in interventions that may help in reducing this rate. One such intervention is a “sprung floor.”

A few factors help factor in the significance of how a “sprung floor” can help reduce injuries. These include:

  1. Joint Angle – If the maximum joint flexion angle is lower on a low stiffness surface, then the maximum external moment would also tend to be proportionally less, as long as the landing force is equal.
  2. Joint Angel Velocity – The faster a joint flexes in order to absorb the force of landing a leap or jump, the greater the velocity of the eccentric muscle contraction.

Therefore, they carried out this study to investigate the effect of floor stiffness during performance of a, “saute,” jump.

They hypothesized:

  1. Maximum joint flexion would be less acute on “sprung floor.”
  2. Maximum joint angular negative velocity would be slower for the hips, knees and ankles when dancers perform “saute” on a low stiffness “sprung floor” compared to a hard wood floor of wood over concrete.


Conclusion: (with sprung floor)

  1. Maximum joint flexion was less. When angles are less acute, the length of the external knee flexion moment arm is shorter and therefore requires less internal force to control.
  2. Angular negative velocity was less allowing unnecessary contraction of muscles to not occur.

Findings suggest that using a reduced stiffness floor for dance rehearsal might reduce the likelihood of a variety of overuse lower extremity injuries including knee, ankle and hip injuries.

Thanks for learning. Remember to dancehealthier.


dancehealthier featured in article by the Missouri Arts Council


I don’t mean this in a negative kind of way, but as a blog writer (for now over 2 years), I tend to at times wonder if my efforts of writing are making the kind of impact I always intended the site to have.  I will ask myself, “Are people really reading this,” or, “Am I really helping people?”

If you really think about it, blogging is kind of a silly and scary thing all at the same time.  As a blogger, you write and press a publish button.  It seems simple, but pressing it means it is sent to an immense and vast internet for an immeasurable time where it can be shared, liked, sent and saved.  So I take it back. Blogging is kind of scary!

As bloggers, we can check our stats page to see how many people clicked on the article and site, but the question of, “Are they really reading,” still always remains questionable.

As a blogger, I was very grateful to be notified by the Missouri Arts Council that dancehealthier was included in their February main article on their webpage. The article is written by, Barbara MacRobie, and it is titled, Snapshots of the Missouri Arts Blogosphere.  Dancehealthier is in the “By Obsessed People” section ;-) under the subhead of “More, and Elsewhere.”

To check this article out, click on the link above for the PDF format, or even better yet, visit Missouri Arts Council and click on the main image of their website!

Thank you Barbara and to the Missouri Arts Council for reading and including me in your article.  It makes hitting that publish button all that more worth it.

Should ICE be the number one go to after an injury: A review of article: Why Ice and Anti-Inflammation is Not The Answer?

Recently, an article/study has been virally circulating the internet, turning heads, questioning minds, including my own.  Have you read it yet? Why Ice and Anti-Inflammation is not the answer?  If you have not, I would like to give you the opportunity to check it out right here, right now! It’s been shared over a 10 thousand times, so it’s on the cool track!


Ironically, recently a PT told me not to over ice, or ice at all, if possible (for chronic injuries).  I said, “You are crazy. No one has ever told me such a thing.”  The truth is, the very first thing we ever hear when something is hurting whether from a doctor, a friend, a dancer, is ” Are you icing?”  It’s our first response.  Of course it numbs the pain, but does it aid in the healing process?  That is what this article discusses, and to be honest it is a very interesting theory that seems to make a lot of sense.

The discussion of over icing and using NSAIDS constantly is exactly what this article stresses over.  Along the history of time the concept of ice healing became conventional wisdom. Yet, this article states that inflammation is the first physiological response to repair and remodel tissue.  Without inflammation the tissue cannot heal.  So the question to ask then is what eliminates swelling and inflammation from the body best? The lymphatic system naturally does this by propelling the lymph to the lymphatic system and eventually through the cardiovascular system. This circulatory path helps to eliminate swelling and remodel damaged tissue. Have you ever had lymphatic drainage practices done? The next question then becomes whether icing assists in the efficiency of the lymphatic system?  An analogy was given from the article that states,” Take two tubes of toothpaste, one is under ice for 20 minutes, the other is warmed to 99 degrees.  In which tube will the toothpaste flow faster?”  So based on this analogy, it’s hard to argue his point.

After reading this article, I questioned a Doctor that I know on a personal basis about whether he had read the article, or whether he practiced this theory within his own practice.  Yes, he had read the article, and yes he explained the very same things this article discusses. He stated that icing is good for the first 48 hours of an injury and that it is not necessary in the healing process thereafter.  However, it aids in pain relief.  He explained that research and time will continually evolve medicine.

I must say eliminating the NSAIDS to get through a day or a show seems like an impossible feat.  Sometimes you have to do what you’ve got to do to get through it. Although, this theory is definitely something to ponder and keep close in mind.

Interesting, interesting stuff!  It sure makes my head spin.  What about you?  Share your comments and please take a few minutes to read the article.

Have a good Wednesday!

Research shows: A summary of a study on performance anxiety.

Here’s a question for you? Do you feel that there is currently enough dance research being done?

Dancehealthier advocates for further research, education and greater concentration of material.  There are way too many talented athletic aspiring and professional dancers that deserve the proper amount of research to provide for the best preventative, coping, and evaluative methods.  There is need for growth.  I’m hopeful!


Dancer: Kristi Capps. Photo Credit: Peter Mueller

For now, dancehealthier feels that it is important to spread the word on the current research out there.  The National Institute of Health published an article titled, “Performance anxiety experiences of professional ballet dancers: The importance of control,” by Walker IJNordin-Bates SM.  

This study interviews 15 professional dancers representing all ranks of one company to evaluate qualitative data on ballet dancers’ experiences of performance anxiety in relation to: 

1. Symptom type, intensity, and directional interpretation.

2. Experience level (including company rank).

3. Self-confidence and psychological skills.  

Results showed:

  • Cognitive anxiety was more dominant than somatic anxiety.
  • Interestingly, a certain level/amount of somatic anxiety (butterflies in the stomach) were interpreted as facilitative or beneficial to performance.  
  • The highest amount of anxiety was felt and experienced by principal dancers vs. corps de ballet members.  
  • When asked what caused most of the inflicted anxiety, the idea of not being in control of the performance dominated (speed of music, partner falter, plainly the idea of “anything can happen”, etc).   
  • As a result of the study, “Dancers may benefit from education about anxiety symptoms and their interpretation, in addition to psychological skills training incorporating cognitive restructuring strategies and problem-focussed coping to help increase their feelings of being in control.” (Walter lJ, 2010)




Emotional Intelligence. What does that mean to you?

Do danchealthier a favor.  Think of the word, “intelligence.” What does that mean to you?


Did you automatically think, “intelligence” referred to logic, math, science, academics?  Or did you think in terms of something like picking up choreography, having street smarts, or having the ability to feel comfortable in social situations? dancehealthier would love to hear your thoughts.  Why? Because we as dancers, through our training and time spent in dancer mode, (may) have wired our brains to think in different patterns than a non-dancer.  Do we see the world differently than a scientist, engineer, or doctor? I know it’s a bit deep for today’s Conversation Wednesday, but dancers sure do love diving deep into things.  So why not think about it?  What does “intelligence” mean to you?

In regards to emotional intelligence, dancehealthier was handed an article (by a dancehealthier follower), as a request to not only share but evaluate the article.  The article is titled, The 4 fundamental Pillars of Emotional Intelligence by Steven Handel.

The article dives deep into emotional intelligence in regards to having more awareness of emotions and what they are signaling to us.  Steven Handel separates emotional intelligence into 4 pillars.

The four pillars described in the article are:

1)  Self Awareness: Paying attention to your own emotions.  Author, Steven Handel separates this pillar into two components.

  • The Psychological Component:  the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that underlie a majority of our emotions (How are we wired? How do we respond to emotions?  Is the response controllable and if so how can we learn to cope better?)
  • The Physical Component: the bodily sensations that are results of different emotional states. (i.e. butterflies before a performance, fast heartbeat before a meeting).  

It’s easy to think of the emotional part of the term emotional intelligence, but are we carefully thinking about how we can psychologically control our behaviors based on identifying the emotion by the uncontrollable physical component – A fast heart beat, a taste of adrenaline?  For example, an emotion such as nervousness may come from an underlying feeling of “I’m not good at this movement,” or “I’m too shy to say anything.” Sometimes just being aware of our emotional states are enough to make them better.

2)  Self Regulation: Depending on the emotion, there are many ways to respond to them better.  Such as, channeling (writing, painting), avoiding triggers (negative people, negative environments), seeking positive experiences (a funny movie, or whatever that might be for you), doing the opposite of what you feel (laugh when you are sad), and sitting on the emotion in a passive way (rather than impulsively acting out on them.)

3)  Empathy: Understanding the emotions of others.  As you improve your own self-awareness you must also improve how you perceive others.  Not everyone thinks the same, acts out the same, but understanding their perspective is important in terms of empathy. Of course no one is expected to understand someone else’s mind completely but the attempt is a necessary tool.

4)  Social Skills:  This is the response you have to others’ emotions.  To build healthy relationships it’s important to be attuned to others’ emotions.  Be careful not to allow your own emotions (such as nervousness, envy) to over power your impulses.  It’s never a good thing to let your own emotions drive the conversation/relationship in a direction you didn’t intend for.


Be sure to remember, “You need to practice turning negative people around by first being positive in yourself” (Handel, 2013).


Handel, Steven.  The 4 Fundamental Pillars of Emotional Intelligence.  Found April 5, 2013 at http://www.theemotionmachine.com/the-4-fundamental-pillars-of-emotional-intelligence