The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts will host the 26th Annual Meeting of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) from 20 to 23 October, 2016. As an introduction to this dynamic organization I would like to share my experience of the 2015 Annual Meeting.
The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) is a group of dance medicine practitioners, dance educators, dance scientists, and dancers that was formed to enhance the health, wellbeing, training, and performance of dancers. Committed to cultivating educational, medical, and scientific excellence, IADMS holds an Annual Meeting that includes “Day for Teachers” and “Day for Special Interest Groups” for dancers, dance educators, health professionals, dance movement researchers, and dance students.
The 2015 Annual Meeting was held in October 2015 in Pittsburgh, USA and spanned a four-day period that started off with a “Day for Teachers”. The meeting offered the latest in dance science research with movement sessions and poster presentations. Rather than summarize everything offered, an overview – and a few examples – of what IADMS offers will give readers some indication of what an Annual Meeting is like.
1. Networking during a meal break at the IADMS 2015 Annual Meeting. Photographer: Garrett A Nasrallah
Without a doubt the biggest benefit of attending an IADMS Annual Meeting is getting up-to-date with the latest in dance science and dance medicine research. This happens formally through the research presentations and also informally by chatting with the researchers, educators, and practitioners about their work. The dance science community is small so everyone is very approachable and always willing to talk about their work and research. These people are passionate about helping dancers dance better and longer, with fewer injuries. Highlights from the Pittsburgh conference were the latest advice for dancers about nutrition, psychology, fitness, and injury prevention.
The IADMS Annual Meeting also provides movement sessions where participants have the chance to explore research and ideas through moving and interacting with presenters. In 2015 the movement sessions included: “Using Technology for Movement Analysis in the Dance Studio”, “Incorporating Conditioning into a Modern Dance Technique Class”, “Principles of Strength and Conditioning for Training and Rehabilitation in Dance: a Movement Session”, and “Gaga, Ohad Naharin’s Movement Language”. Unlike the research presentations - which are generally short in length - the movement sessions run about 60 minutes, giving time to experience and learn through doing, discussing, and asking questions.
In addition to the research presentations and movement sessions, poster presentations are another form of information sharing. Posters are displayed in a relaxed way so you can view them and discuss ideas with their creators. There are generally two poster presentation slots during the meeting, and they cover a wide range of topics. At the 2015 IADMS Annual Meeting topics included “Differences in Sway Area Observed in Ballerinas en demi pointe and en pointe”, “DanceFit: A Dance-based Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention for Primary Care”, and “Building a Safe Environment for Private Dance Sectors: a Business Model to Provide Healthcare for Dancers”.
2. A poster presentation session at the IADMS 2015 Annual Meeting. Photographer: Garrett A Nasrallah
The IADMS Annual Meeting also offers great opportunities to network because it brings together professionals from all over the world (more than 35 countries). It’s a unique chance to compare notes, talk with colleagues, and get to know people. Because IADMS is a small community, faces become familiar after a day or two, and this makes approaching people less intimidating. There are also social events scheduled during the meeting that allow participants to just relax and mingle. Among these are a welcome reception and a dance party on the final evening.
Having the IADMS Annual Meeting here in Hong Kong is an exciting opportunity for the local community to meet international colleagues, to participate in movement sessions offered by local and international dance practitioners, and to learn the latest in dance science research. For dancers, dance teachers, choreographers, physiotherapists, company managers, or anyone who works with dancers, this is an event not to be missed.
For more details about IADMS including membership information and for those planning to attend the 26th annual meeting next year in Hong Kong, visit the website (www.IADMS.org) and their blog.