At Dance UK member Motionhouse we are extremely fortunate to have a packed touring schedule: the 2014/15 season saw the company perform 101 times in theatre and outdoor productions across 3 continents. Our demanding touring schedule combined with our ever-growing and diverse repertoire mean that we inevitably work our bodies hard - and that we are vulnerable to injury.
Like many other contemporary dance organisations, Motionhouse is already working to its capacity to deliver a huge amount of work on a tight budget, with no possibility of engaging understudies to cover injured dancers. This means that we have to perform at our peak for long periods of time and that avoiding injury is a real priority for us.
Although Motionhouse provides cover for injury treatment, it is clear that prevention and pre-habilitation is the way forward to enable us to work as injury free as possible, an help us ensure career longevity. We therefore decided that we needed more support in understanding how to better prepare ourselves for the demands of the touring season.
To help dancers maintain health, fitness and optimum performance, Dance UK has devised the Performance Optimisation Package (POP). POP shifts the focus towards injury prevention rather than cure. Dancers take part in preventative health and fitness screenings twice a year, which help them better understand their strengths and weaknesses and plan a bespoke training regime. Also, dancers are able to develop an ongoing relationship with the NIDMS healthcare and dance science team, and access regular expert help to support their training and performance.
A few companies, like 2Faced Dance for instance, have already joined the programme and their dancers have found it a great way to get more dance-specific, scientific knowledge on the way they train and look after themselves. The package not only offers concrete prevention and treatment tools but is also an empowering experience for dancers to better understand the physical demands placed on their profession.
At Motionhouse, dancers have teamed up with the office team in a fundraising campaign that aims to raise enough funding for the whole performing company to join the programme. We have created a Just Givingcampaign with a short video that explains what we do as a company and why specialised support would help us to avoid injury and help us to deliver even better performances.
Dance has learned a lot in recent years from the successful use of screenings, pre-habilitation and supplementary training in elite and Olympic level sport. At Motionhouse, in partnership with Dance UK, we are trying to do the same, by providing the company’s performers with the support and scientific knowledge to help them work in the safest and best way possible. The goal is to optimise performance whilst protecting the health of the performers and increasing career longevity.Just Giving