Dance science is the scientific study of dance and dancers, as well as the practical application of scientific principles to dance. Its aims are the enhancement of performance, the reduction of injury, and the improvement of well-being and health.
Dance science as an academic discipline is a recent phenomenon. In the UK, two degrees (both at master's level) now exist: one at the University of Wolverhampton, and one at the Laban Dance Centre in London. With regards to dance science research, another UK institution which has staff and students active in the area is the University of Birmingham. Some dance companies employ dance scientists to provide support services, such as physiological testing or psychological support. Undergraduate courses in dance sometimes incorporate . Some undergraduate degrees in dance, or other dance courses, also include one or several modules in dance science, with the aim of promoting healthy dance practices. These include the University of Wolverhampton, the Royal Academy of Dance, and Bird College.
Typically, the subject areas within dance science are similar to those studied in "sports science", though naturally with a focus on dance and the special considerations that this involves. They include: physiology, anatomy, psychology, biomechanics, nutrition, and similar. Contrary to sports science, however, dance science sometimes also studies somatic techniques, including the practices of Pilates, yoga, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais method, etc.
The largest organisation promoting dance science internationally is the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, (IADMS). As well as producing a scientific peer-reviewed journal, it also holds annual conferences. In the UK, DanceUK is perhaps the foremost proponent of dance science and healthy dance practice more generally. A conference entitled From Cognition to Conditioning was held at Middlesex University in February 2007.
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