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Dancers have an injury incidence rate (combined pre-professional and professional dancers) of 1.09 injuries per 1000 dance hours.

That means, for every 1000 hours you dance on average you may suffer 1 (– ish!) injury.

Injuries commonly experience affect the foot and ankle, followed by lower spine, knees and hips.

So why don’t dancers train like athletes?

Good question!

There is an innate drive and tradition to attend more classes, improve technique and master dance steps in the dance community. However, a study by Long et al in 2021 - and many others! - have found that a supplemental conditioning program:

  • improved dance performance, and

  • decreased injury risk,

by applying principles of sports science training.

They also found there was a loss in improvement found at a follow up session as not all the dancers in the study continued with the program, identifying the need for continued conditioning for long term effects.

With this kind of conditioning program, dancers were able to see improvements in:

  • balance,

  • leg strength and

  • ankle stability

which are all aspects that underpin many dance movements.

So, dancers should have some kind of conditioning program to help them prevent injury. Just attending dance classes alone does not set you up for decreased risk. But when can I do this you ask? I know, you just don’t have the time. Well...

Dancewright can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop an individualised program that you can do at home within a 15-minute time frame. So you can fit them in say when you are watching your favourite Netflix series or even as part of a warm up before class. So here's the offer you can't refuse.....

Jump into Spring!

offers dancers an

  • individual session,

  • 30-minute program delivery session (going through your own individualised program) and

  • 45-minute follow up appointment at 6 weeks

  • Online Introduction to Strength and Conditioning course

Regular Price: $345

Jump into Spring Offer - Pay only : $249

That's almost $100 off!

Telehealth available if you don't live near Lilydale and Private Health may be available depending on your level of cover.

Book your initial appointment NOW at

and start your journey to becoming a stronger, safer and more informed dancer.


Long KL, Milidonis MK, Wildermuth VL, Kruse AN, Parham UT. The Impact of Dance-

Specific Neuromuscular Conditioning and Injury Prevention Training on Motor Control,

Stability, Balance, Function and Injury in Professional Ballet Dancers: A Mixed-Methods

Periodisation is something that many elite athletes do to manage their workload over the course of a year, depending on training and competition demands. It varies the amount of workload you do over the course of a year (or other period of time) in order to best prepare for the busy times.

Dancers have the same variance as athletes with regards to demand, rehearsal v performance and rest periods. For example in a study by Shaw et. al 2023, dancers at the Royal Ballet had peak periods of performance volume in December, but high volume hours in rehearsals were between October / November and then January and April. But many dancers and dance teachers don’t take this into account.

As a dancer at a local dance school, your peak periods would be around your competitions, exams and end of year (or other) performances. During these times, you might rehearse more or have extra individual sessions to get you ready for these important events.

This means that these times are when you are more at risk for injury.


When preparing for an important performance event, dancers (and dance teachers) push themselves to get the best result or performance they can. Extra training hours mean that you expend more energy. If you don’t keep up your eating and sleeping, you and your muscles can fatigue quicker.

Fatigue = Slower Reaction Times and less power and strength in your muscles. Whilst your mind expects your body to perform in a certain way, fatigued muscles increases the risk of injury as they can’t perform the way you expect them too. For example, fatigued leg muscles may mean that your knee isn’t supported properly when landing from a jump, so the knee rolls in and you can dislocate your knee cap, or roll your ankle.

So what can I do?

Look at your schedule throughout the year – and put in your non-dance commitments too! See where your busy and demanding periods are throughout the year and make a plan to reduce the risk of injury during those times.






Summer Camp - Full time dance for a week

Dance Comps - 2 weekends in a row

Ballet Exams & School Rock Climbing Camp

What sort of things should I do the reduce the risk of injury?

During the busy times:

1. Get enough sleep – at least 7 or 8 hours

2. Eat well – Ensure you get a balanced diet with enough calories to support your activity

3. Take breaks when you can, and rest – meditate, read a book, talk to a friend on the phone

During the not so busy times:

1. Keep up your classes and work on your weaknesses

2. Improve your strength and work on injury prevention with a professionally planned exercise program

3. Ensure you keep eating and sleeping well.

Anything else?

Other key times that can also be high risk injury times are when you return from holidays. Don’t expect your body to be able to do everything it could at the end of last term or when you last went to class. Don’t worry, it won’t take long to get it all back, but do go full on into class when you first go back to it.

If you want some help looking at your schedule, working out your main strengths and weaknesses and make a plan for the rest of 2023 to reduce your risk of injury, contact me now for a Winter Special: 1 hr Initial consultation and 1 x Follow up consultation for $150 (Regular cost $208). Must be booked by 20th July 2023

Book your initial appointment at and mention Winter Special.


Rehearsal and Performance Volume in Professional Ballet: A Five-Season Cohort Study, Shaw et al. 2023, Journal of Dance Medicine & Science 2023, Vol. 27(1) 3–12, DOI: 10.1177/1089313X231174684

No one likes to be injured. But how often does it really happen?

Research shows it happens probably more that you think.

Lets look at the stats, the why and what can be done about it.

A review of previous studies done on injuries is dancers (and dance teachers) found that among recreational dancers, 43% will become injured and as many as 86% of pre-professional dancers (those studying dance full time) will become injured.

The majority of these injuries are found to be caused by repetitive stress and affect the

  • Foot

  • Ankle

  • Shin

  • Knee

  • Lower Hip

So basically, anything below the waist!

What is repetitive stress?

Repetitive stress is damage caused to a bone, tendon, ligament or joint when movements are repeated over and over. It can occur when you are training too much, have a weakness due to previous injury or incorrect training or from incorrect technique. Examples include tendonitis, bursitis, stress fractures, shin splints or jumpers knee.

BUT ! The rates provided in the research might not tell us the whole picture.

In dance there appears to be what’s called an avoidance culture. Students avoid telling staff about any little niggle or injury in case they are held back a grade, miss out on a competition or are taken out of their dance concert. So, the figures quoted in most dance research based on injuries is probably missing a large chunk of data.


We need to change the culture so that students are identifying things that aren’t quite right sooner rather than later. In most cases, it is much easier and quicker to recover from a little niggle than a full-blown injury. This needs to come:

1. From the dance students. Get to know your body and how it feels after class or rehearsal. If you begin to feel something different going on, talk to someone. Your parents / guardians, your teacher and / or your dance health professional.

2. From the dance teachers. In many cases there will be no need to take a student out of class, a concert piece or replaced in a competition, but this does involve a good recovery and rehabilitation plan to be discussed between the dance medicine professional and the dance teacher. Often, an injured dancer can still participate in many aspects of dance class and rehearsals.

3. From the health professionals. Non dance specific Physiotherapists, Doctors or Exercise Physiologists do not necessarily have the background in dance and therefore do not fully understand what a class or a rehearsal may look like. Without this information they are unable to fully advise how a rehabilitating dancer can participate. In many cases, these specialists will simply tell a dancer not to dance (at all) for X number of weeks. Resulting in frustration and sometimes non-compliance from students. Where possible, if you do need to go to a medical professional, try and find a dance specific or at least a sports specialist and work with them to ...

...Find out what you CAN do, not just what you CAN’T do.

So, what can we takeaway from all of this information?

1. Injuries are prevalent throughout the recreational and pre-professional world of dance. Don’t just assume it won’t happen to you.

2. Don’t avoid talking to your teacher or health professional if you have a little niggle. Get yourself looked at sooner rather than later.

3. Work with your health professional and dance teacher to incorporate what you can do in class and / or performance.

If you have any questions, or like me - believe that prevention is better than the cure, contact me for an initial consultation and take steps to becoming a stronger, safter and more informed dancer through Exercise Physiology. Go to for more information.

As a side note:

Despite all of the research we have access to, the article does say that there are not enough prospective studies (studies done during the time the dancer is injured, rather than relying on the dancer to relay the information after they are recovered). So, the dance medicine world has much work to do on clarifying the prevalence of injuries in dancers, . I would therefore encourage anyone involved in dance to participate in any relevant studies that may come your way. Just make sure the study is legitimate and ethical. If you have any doubts, please feel free to reach out to me and I can help you confirm if a study is legitimate.

References and Resources

Critchley M, Kenny SJ, Ritchie A, McKay CD. Injury rates and characteristics associated with participation in organized dance education: a systematic review. J Dance Med Sci. 2022;26(2):87-105.

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