Many elite sports have clear “return to play” guidelines however, this is a grey area in the dance industry, in particular commercial and suburban dance schools.
All dancers are experiencing a significant time away from the studio and research is showing that despite participating in online classes, the level of intensity is not the same as participating in a face to face class. Therefore, dancers, like all athletes, are experiencing deconditioning and a reduction in their technical skill level.
However, unlike athletes, dancers do not have set guidelines post- COVID-19 for loading their bodies safely. The team at Performance Medicine have created these loading guidelines to provide a simple yet effective way to apply scientific loading principles and research to recreational, pre-professional and professional dance studios so that dancers can return to dance in a safe and sustainable way.
The loading guidelines have been based on information from both Australian and US elite gymnastic programs. They use the four principles of loading; volume, duration, intensity and intervals. The neuromuscular skill acquisition guidelines have been based on the physiological principles of motor learning. The guidelines have been structured into five phases.
Phases one to three (weeks 0-6) are characterised by the re-acquisition of skill and increase in strength and endurance.
Phases four and five (weeks 7 plus) are characterised by the reintroduction of more complex skills and increased intensity and duration of training .
Many elite athletes have baseline profiles of fitness yet this is less common in dance. When returning to the studio, now is the opportune time for studios and teachers to gain baseline information so that they can guide their students back to their artistry in a safe and meaningful way.