June 21, 2024

Balancing Art and Health: Investigating the Impact of Ballet’s Sacrifices on Dancer Health

2 min read
Researchers in Fort Worth Investigate Health of Female Ballet Dancers – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Ballet is a highly demanding performance art that requires a great deal of dedication and sacrifice to reach the professional level. Researchers at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are studying the impact that these sacrifices can have on the health of dancers, particularly their bone health.

Dr. Yein Lee, the director of the UNT Health Science Center Performing Arts Medicine Fellowship, has noticed a high prevalence of stress injuries and fractures among dancers she has treated. She emphasized the importance of identifying risk factors and solutions to prevent further damage to their health.

Performing Arts Medicine Fellow Stephen Fung, a former competitive dancer, launched a study to investigate this trend and its potential impact on women due to biological differences between men and women. Female ballet dancers are traditionally required to be strong but not too muscular, which can lead to body image issues, eating disorders, and calorie restrictions at the pre-professional stage.

Dance student and teacher Bethany Bailey has been involved in ballet since she was three years old and has witnessed firsthand the prevalence of eating disorders in the dance world. She also highlighted efforts many departments are making to combat these issues and promote overall well-being for dancers.

The research goals include developing a self-assessment checklist for female ballet dancers that can help them evaluate their risk factors for injury or illness. This tool could also be beneficial for female athletes in general who want to maintain their health while pursuing their passions. The ultimate aim is to keep dancers healthy so they can continue doing what they love while promoting overall well-being.

Overall, this research highlights the importance of prioritizing health and wellness for dancers while still allowing them to pursue their passion for ballet without sacrificing their long-term health.

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