If you love dance, then a career in dance science could be a perfect fit for you. Dance science is based on applied scientific principles to enhance dance and movement performances while preventing injury and illness. There are several disciplines in the field that may appeal to both your creative and your scientific sides including biomechanics, physiology, psychology and somatics, which means various approaches to mind-body integration and psychology. Your dance science education can begin with organizations offering related courses, such as universities, conferences, workshops and clinical cooperatives.
As a Pilates educator, you’ll teach dancers how to tone muscles, balance muscular force at the joints, stimulate flexibility, and improve joint range and musculoskeletal alignment. All of those may work toward injury prevention and alleviating pain. Your efforts will improve dancers’ body awareness and coordination. You’ll generally work in a studio in conjunction with physical therapists, athletic trainers and occupational therapists. Your education will require gaining knowledge in anatomy and in the correct way to execute each movement.
When you work as a physical therapist, you’ll help dancers to restore function, improve mobility and relieve pain. In addition, your work will help prevent or limit any permanent disabilities. Physical therapists examine, diagnose and treat immediate problems. This is followed by instructing patients on how to perform specific exercises to gain strength and mobility to prevent further injury. Physical therapists need to be college graduates with a master's degree or a clinical doctorate. In addition, you'll need to pass a national examination and obtain a state license before going into practice.
As a kinesiotherapist, you’ll excel in the study of movement. From a dance perspective, you'll examine how various movements can cause injury. Your education will specialize in sport biomechanics, biochemistry and moleclar/cellular physiology. You'll also study motor behavior, physical fitness and sports medicine. A background in kinesiotherapy can lead to other jobs, such as dance instructor or researcher. Besides working in your own studio, kinesiotherapists can find jobs at schools, colleges and private agencies.
Dancers will come to you for massage therapy, in which you will apply scientifically developed techniques to the soft tissue of the body for the purpose of improving muscle tone and circulation. As a massage therapist, you’ll use different physically manipulative ways to enhance a dancer’s well-being, reduce stress and tension, prevent injury and restore health. Depending on your location, your education will require at least 500 hours of training, and will include anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, theory and practice of massage therapy, ethics and business practices, all resulting in a massage license. You can practice your job anywhere dancers go to maintain their physical health, including theaters, schools, holistic health clinics and sports medicine facilities.
- Elon University: Dance Science
- Harkness Center for Dance Injuries: What Is Dance Medicine and Science?
- Harkness Center for Dance Injuries: How Do I Pursue a Career in Dance Medicine and Science?
- Harkness Center for Dance Injuries: Career Overviews
- Somatics Educational Resources: Novato Institute for Somatics Research and Training
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.