Her thoughts on Dance Part 2-Supportive references - ZorbaBooks

Her thoughts on Dance Part 2-Supportive references

Some IMPORTANT REFERENCES with excerpts:


Dance or dancer?

Who is at fault? The dancers or the dance style? The authors of the study argue that since the dance tradition goes back 1,500 years, the principles of yoga would have been taken into consideration, but not the principles of anatomy and modern-day physiology. They also say that the structure, ‘rather than being based on functional anatomy, lays its foundation on the aesthetic beauty of lines and angles formed by the varied positioning of angas or the different parts of the body.’

A similar opinion is expressed by scholar Kapila Vatsyayan in her book, Indian Classical Dance , “The Indian dance is not concerned with the musculature of the human form, but rather, like the sculptor, takes the joints and fundamental anatomical bone-structure of the human form as its basis.”


This is a very informative and supportive article – a must read


Very informative interview of an Indian dancer’s doctor –Dr. Krishna Raman and his views on Indian dance


Important excerpts:

The final speaker of the conference was Dr. Krishna Raman, referred to popularly as the dancer’s doctor! He is well known for his integration of western medicine with yoga and has 18 years of clinical practice to his credit. He gave a fine video presentation with images, charts and suggested exercises, interspersed with explanations. 

Long back, I had read this comment by Uttara Coorlawala. “The condition of dance floors is appalling in India. Dancing in these theatres, the body’s shock absorption system becomes worn out.” Now I get an opportunity to use it! When one performs / practices on a concrete floor, the body absorbs all the shocks, but on a wooden floor, the floor absorbs the impact. Dr. Raman appealed to all organizers to convert performance spaces into wooden floors and make it safe for dancers to perform. He appealed to dancers to alter home surfaces – make their rehearsal spaces safe by having wooden flooring or at least lay a wooden plank on the concrete floor. Another option is to spread something like yoga mats where one will not slip. Dancer Urmila Sathyanarayana has already put his advice into practice.  

The common mistakes dancers make is have extended rehearsals, too many rehearsals, no proper warm-ups, no proper sleep and insufficient rest to name a few. 

 “Health comes first, then art,” says Dr. Raman.


Important paper on psychopathology in dance addiction-problems like Borderline Personality Disorder


Interview with Smt. Sujata Mohapatra-

It is said that Odissi dance has been undergoing a significant transformation in the past few years. What are some changes that you have observed, and are they beneficial for Odissi?

Over the span of Guruji’s career, his technique went through a series of refinements. Students who learned with him in the earlier phase would say that his dances had changed a lot in his later phase. However, Guruji did not like the word “change.” He would prefer a term like “refine,” “decorate,” or “purify” to describe the process of maturation which took place in his work. He was an architect who never stopped refining his creations. Trained as a painter, he kept adding filigree to his choreographies and making his technique more and more precise.

One example is in our basic chouk stance. Originally the feet were kept quite wide. Guruji said that the body’s nature was to sway side to side with the rhythm, swinging the weight back and forth off of the center line. In order to perform the precise movements in feet and upper body while maintaining the center, it was necessary to dance in ardha chouk, with the feet in a smaller stance. I feel as a dancer and as a teacher that this was a positive change which helps us to maintain body control in the dance and achieve the subtle beauty which Guruji envisioned.

Point to be noted: I find the basic chouk stance uncomfortable. I have been part of the ancient style of learning. Ardha chouk position is more comfortable indeed.


Postural analysis in female Bharatanatyam dancers: a cross-sectional study

Increased lumbar lordosis and anterior pelvic tilt were observed in Bharatanatyam dancers as compared to non-dancers. Hence, it is vital to establish preventive measures like postural re-education, muscular balance, and flexibility to prevent erroneous postural patterns capable of causing pain and injuries.


www.theballetblog.com –

Important excerpts and links:

As dance teachers it is imperative to help your students understand the Anatomy of the dancer’s body- In this website you will also find workshops arranged for teachers. Lisa Howell also has a Facebook page. This is a very helpful website. Some important areas are:



Very important to understand fascia, as fascia is the most fascinating part of mobility.





Customer Support (The Ballet Blog – Customer Service )

Letter from Lisa:

Hi ………,

Thank you very much for emailing us here at The Ballet Blog. 

It’s incredibly frustrating for us to try and get the right message out to everyone here in the West so I cannot imagine what it is like accessing that kind of information where you are. 

Great exercises for cooling down are gentle stretches that continually move and don’t stop in static positions. This is more fascial retraining and conditioning. 

I’ll link you to a couple of videos that will give you the idea. After you have the general gist of what we are trying to achieve, you can get creative. If you feel like you want more of Lisa’s own exercises, they are all available in our Front Splits Fast manual which I will also link below.



I hope this helps. 

Kindest Regards, 

Tom at The Ballet Blog 


Subsidiary of Perfect Form Physiotherapy Pty Ltd

Suite 404

88 Foveaux St

Surry Hills, NSW 2010


Ph: +61 (2) 9922 7721


Survey of Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Indian Dancers in Mumbai and Mangalore

Shruti Prabhakaran Nair, MPTh, Shruti Kotian, BPTh, Claire Hiller, PhD, MAppSc,

Volume 22, Number 2, 2018 • Journal of Dance Medicine & Science

This is a very informative article.

Shruti Prabhakaran Nair, MPTh, Shruti Kotian, BPTh, and Rajani Mullerpatan,

PhD, MScPT, MGM Institute’s University Department of Physiotherapy,

MGMIHS, Navi Mumbai Maharashtra, India. Claire Hiller, PhD, MAppSc,

BAppSc, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Correspondence: Shruti Prabhakaran Nair, MPTh, MGM Institute’s University

Department of Physiotherapy, Sector-1, Plot No.1 & 2, Navi Mumbai – 410209,

Maharashtra, India; shrutinair2008@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2018 J. Michael Ryan Publishing, Inc.


Some excerpts from the pdf


Classical Indian dance has earned recognition across the globe; however, the health of dancers who are carrying forth this heritage has not received due attention. Therefore, this study aimed to explore musculoskeletal pain and injury prevailing among Indian dancers in Mumbai and Mangalore. A secondary aim was to compare pain tolerance levels between dancers and non-dancers. Fifty-one dancers trained in different traditional Indian and Western dance forms and 164 recreational dancers were recruited as participants. 



The present study revealed that 73.5% of Indian dancers reported experiencing musculoskeletal pain in their dancing careers. Irrespective of dance form, back pain was the most prevalent followed by knee and ankle pain. The level of training and gender did not influence the prevalence of pain. Surprisingly, there was no difference in pain tolerance between dancers and non-dancers. Back, knee, and ankle were also the most common sites of past injury reported by dancers. They attributed their injuries to varied factors, such as stress, overwork, tiredness, falls, inadequate exercises, hard flooring, and inadequate diet. Most dancers routinely participated in other forms of exercise, namely swimming, yoga, and aerobics, apart from dance.

Dancers were better aware of the benefits of warm-up exercises compared to cool-down exercises. It was observed that sites of present pain and those of past injuries were similar. Possibly these dancers considered them to be the same construct. It is also likely that they did not seek any intervention for past injuries and continued to train with them, resulting in aggravation of symptoms that ultimately presented as recurrence of pain. For the purposes of this discussion pain and injury will be considered simultaneously.

As previously noted, back pain was reported as the most prevalent site of pain in both genders irrespective of dance form or level of training. Other studies have reported similar findings in professional dancers,10,13,20,21 but not among amateur dancers.22 It is likely that commonly reported causes of back pain, such as poor core muscle strength, excessive anterior pelvic tilt, tightness of back extensor musculature, and weak and long hamstring muscles were responsible for back pain in Indian dancers.

In the typical postures of most dance forms, the low back can be hyperlordotic (see Fig. 1). Hyperlordosis often results from an attempt to increase turnout at the hip by putting the hip joint in a position where the capsular ligaments are loosened (hip flexion, or anterior pelvic tilt), which allows the femur to rotate more in the hip socket. The resulting hyperlordosis elongates the abdominal muscles, making them prone to weakness, whereas the erector spinae and hip flexor muscles remain shortened.27Such an imbalance in the lumbopelvic segment caused by forced turnout at the hip is likely to reinforce an exaggerated lumbar lordosis during relaxed standing.27 Additionally, lordotic posture places more weight on the facets, which are not predominantly weightbearing joints but are sites of nociceptive tissue. Excessive narrowing of the intervertebral foramen caused by approximation of the pedicles as a result of hyperlordosis compresses nerve roots and their dural sheaths, contributing to back pain.28 It is known that in young dancers mechanical low back pain could represent a transient “overgrowth” syndrome wherein the growth of bony elements outstrips ligaments and tendons during the adolescent growth spurt29-31 resulting in a combination of tight lumbodorsal fascia and hamstrings posteriorly and weak abdominal muscles anteriorly.23,32 Repeated stress on a dancer attempting to use his or her body the way it was prior to the growth spurt could lead to stress fractures.33 Considering that half the dancers in the present study were teenagers, poor pelvic strength and control could explain the common complaint of low back pain.

Some of the common postures in Bharatnatyam and other classical dance forms are highly demanding in terms of muscle control and balance,. Matsya (fish),Nritta (dance), Kurma (turtle), and tandava (see Fig. 1) are common poses that are likely to result in an increased risk of back pain due to the high velocity twisting and bending required.33Knee pain was the second most prevalent site of pain reported in dancers across all dance forms. Several factors could explain knee pain among dancers. One would be the aramandi position in Bharatnatyam (see Fig. 1), which is similar to a demi-plié in ballet.2 A high incidence of chondromalacia patellae among ballet dancers is substantiated and known to be related

to the use of plié.34 Aramandi posture has a closed chain knee flexion with hip abduction and external rotation (see Fig. 1). Rhythmic stamping of the feet along with high impact jumping (Bhramari, Fig. 1) in this posture is likely to strain the patellar tendon because notable force is transmitted via the patella while taking off or landing from a jump.35,36

Secondly, classical dancers (both Indian and Western) commonly assume postures that involve forced

turnout at the knee resulting in overstretching of medial contractile and non-contractile structures. This causes weakening of the medial structures and subsequent increased activity of the lateral knee stabilizers, leading to biomechanical imbalances of the patellofemoral joint. This could be the reason for patellofemoral joint syndrome as has been commonly reported among Bharatnatyam dancers.


Thirdly, short hamstring muscles may predispose the knee to pain. Decreased hamstring flexibility is known to be a risk factor for the development of patellar tendinopathy and patellofemoral pain.37,38 Lack of flexibility may cause early muscle fatigue and alter normal mechanics of movement, thus predisposing the dancer to pain. Additionally, muscle tightness may lead to overuse injury or even produce early wear and tear changes in weightbearing joints. Only 20% of dancers in the present study practiced common stretching exercises as a part of their routine dance practice. Therefore, it is possible that dancers experience tightness in biarticular muscles like hamstrings and gastrocnemius, resulting in knee pain.4

Exploration of the dancers’ perception of common factors causing dance-related musculoskeletal injuries revealed stress, overwork, tiredness, falls, inadequate physical exercise, hard flooring, improper diet, unsuitable stages, and cold environment as commonly suggested causative factors, similar to those reported previously.39

Most studies that report dancers’ survey responses have emphasized that dancers felt pressured to return to dance before injuries healed because of the belief that since they have invested a great deal of time in dance, they must perform through injury.40 Dancing with biomechanical dysfunction or muscle imbalance can develop into serious problems that require discontinuance of dance activities,thereby adding to dancers’ stress levels.41 Associated factors could be competition among peers,5 faulty food habits, irregular sleep patterns,42-44 frequent travel, and inadequate rest,45 making dancers more prone to musculoskeletal disorders.46

Although the importance of warmup and cool-down in general exercise and sports is widely acknowledged, awareness of their importance among Indian dancers is poor. Less than half of dancers in the present study (43%) performed warm-up exercises, and only 20% practiced cool-down in the form of stretching. Despite the near majority of dancers regularly performing warm-up exercise, musculoskeletal

pain was widely reported. This could imply that it is not lack of elasticity that leads to musculotendinous injury, but rather injury occurs when the tension

demands of the muscle exceed the

tension generating capability of the

muscle.47 Almost 60% of our dancers

participated in other forms of exercise

apart from dance, most commonly

swimming, yoga, and aerobics. This

may have had an indeterminate effect

on their muscle tension-strength balance.

One factor that may influence

the development of overuse injury is

the hypothesis that dancers have an

increased pain tolerance48 that allows

them to keep dancing despite pain.40

Our hypothesis was that dancers

would report a high pain tolerance

because dancing through pain and injury

is a traditional practice ingrained

in a dancer’s mindset. Contrary to

what was expected, dancers had no

difference in pain tolerance compared

to non-dancers. Possibly the young

age of the dancers along with a low

average training duration would not

yet have allowed for maturation of the

attitude required for tolerating pain.

Another reason for the lack of difference

may be that senior dancers

refused to share information regarding

dance-related pain, thus removing

possible pain-tolerant individuals. The

refusal to impart pain information reflects

the acculturated perceptions31,49

that run deep and are likely present

in most dance environments. Future

research should determine if sociocultural

perceptions could be influenced

in such a way as to improve participation

in rehabilitation. Ultimately,

changes in prevailing dance attitudes

could result in long-term benefits to

prevent chronic injury.

There were a number of limitations

to the study. Only dancers able to

comprehend English were included.

Raadhakalpa Method Of Smt. Rukmini Vijayakumar-

Her You Tube channel Raadhakalpa Dance Company and also her Facebook page

Very helpful videos of application of anatomy to Bharatnatyam dance movements and exercises


I attended her webinar on Basics of Injury Prevention in September 2022

Notes from Workshop on Anatomy for Dancers, Dance Bridges Festival, August 2015, Kolkata

Notes from Workshop on Laban Movement Analysis, 29th October to 2nd November 2017 by Ms. Martine Kaisserlian, Rhythmosaic

Dancercise-Phyllis Greene Morgan

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