At Advanz Therapies we have a fully equipped Clinical Pilates studio and offer a full complement of dance screening assessments for pre pointe, and tertiary dance programmes and treat for a variety of musculoskeletal injuries specific to dancers including specific postural and spinal/pelvic stabilising exercises to improve proficiency of dance techniques.

Over the past decade dance in Australia has no doubt seen an increase in popularity and support as a career path for youth to develop.   This could likely be attributed to the saturation of modern pop artists increasingly using dancers (and dancing themselves) in music videos and the success of reality TV shows such as ‘So you think you can dance?’ and ‘Australia’s Got Talent’. As a result I have seen increasingly more dance related injuries in the clinic than ever before.   Many of these coming from young dancers who have taken up full time dance studies at the ever increasing number of studios offering two year dance diplomas.

Dance can put extreme strain through the body at the best of times but even more so when you are still growing, doing movement that is new to your body or never practiced/performed in such quantities before.  This is often the case for dance students who are faced with learning multiple styles and going from dancing as a hobby to dancing nearly every day for long hours.

The practice of a conditioning routine is vital to the success of any dancer or athlete and in my experience the most complete form of this relevant to dance is that of Pilates.  As physiotherapists we use it as a tool for injury treatment and injury prevention but also for performance enhancement by employing specific exercises designed for the individual.

Improvements seen with Pilates practice are not necessarily due to muscle growth or building ‘bigger muscles’ but rather from better and more efficient recruitment of the muscles surrounding the joints/ affected area i.e. improved muscle control.  This improvement in recruitment of muscle groups allows a chronically overstressed joint, tendon or ligament the chance to heal effectively and remove overpressure of the area with loading from movement. The result is a body that works more efficiently and the dancer/athlete obtains improvements in joint stability, flexibility, speed and strength.

With Pilates it is about working ‘smarter not harder’ with emphasis put on ‘not what you do but how you do it’.  Using these principles not only helps high-level performers but also anyone seeking improvement in recreational sport and activities or better quality of movement.

Article written by Advanz Therapies Physiotherapist – Scott Thomson