Health issues in dancing

First the DISCLAIMER: don't take the following for gospel. If you have medical questions, go talk to a physician. None of the people quoted here is a physician.

> Athletic creams

> Blisters

> Colds

v Injuries

Simple damage

Apart from simple overuse injuries, there are the injuries that one dance partner sustains because of the other.

Ladies, consider the potential harm that rings, long nails, and other seemingly innocent accesories can inflict.

Gentlemen, jerky movements can hurt your follower.

Lifts and drops and falls

Then there is the subject of aerials, lifts and drops. The concensus seems to be pretty much that you shouldn't do those socially. If you have plenty of space on the floor and there is no risk to other dancers, then you only do them if you and your partner have rehearsed them, or if you have agreed in advance to do such potentially dangerous moves. Never spring such moves on unsuspecting partners. Do you really want to risk dropping a woman and find out only after the fact that she was pregnant or recovering from surgery?

Here is some more about such injuries:

Sometime during my teaching semester at the University of Utah, information is presented to the dance students in my class addressing lifts and drops, and more importantly in social settings:

Having accomplished over 100 hours of research on skull fractures, especially avoidable ones, the bottom line is this: It only takes 33 ft pounds of energy to fracture a skull, or approximately 398 inch pounds of energy (1). Skull fractures, many times go untreated and also many times result in a fatality several days later. Sometimes, however the death is instant. You determine how much energy to expect from a fall:

Take your own height in inches. Multiply your height by the distance in inches it would take to fall to the ground. If you are lifted off of the ground, multiply the height of this lift by your weight when you impact the non-yielding floor and you will find you have more than ample energy to fracture your skull. As a medium sized individual, that figure for me is 13,000 inch pounds just falling to the ground and striking my head - let alone being lifted off of the ground by someone who is probably NOT formally trained in this precise art, but who also is probably not aware that ACROBATICS of this nature are usually taught by performing arts professionals with spotters and mats. (The same as with any other gymnastic type move).

The powerfully sad part to this situation is that deaths by dancing ARE not only unacceptable but preventable. My exact words to my students are : Dancing is a sport, an art form, energetic and enjoyable - it is not supposed to be risky, nor dangerous. Lifts and drops should be left to the professionals in cabaret settings, competitions etc., where the risk to the participants are known to them, and there is NO risk to other dancers on the same floor. The Appels, the Savoys are marvelous to watch because they have perfected this wonderful art form of lifts and drops. They are the professionals !

When club owners refuse to enforce a no lifts/drops policy, we need to express our dissatisfaction with this and leave. More nightclub owners need to own up to their responsibility in not allowing lifts and drops on their social dance floors. Unfortunately, those that do not comply will find more and more litigatious survivors out there that will force them to do just that or be looking for a real job when the lawsuit hits. . In all gymnastic events I've seen, the gymnasts are surrounded by mats to protect them from non-yielding surfaces and skull fractures. **** There is logic here.****

Leave the lifts and drops for cabaret, performances, etc and instructors should adamately discourage their students from trying to accomplish that which can be so deadly. My condolences to the families of those victims of such senseless ego building.

(1) OSHA study March 1978. Dept of Industrial
and Operations Engineering. College of Engineering
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. "An erconomic
basis for recommendations pertaining to specific
sections of OSHA standard, 29 CFR Part 1910
Subpart D - - Walking and working surfaces.

American Journal of Surgery, November 1949
E.S. Gurdjian, M.D., John E. Webster M.D. and
Herbert R. Lissner M.S. Detroit Michigan

Herbert R. Lissner, M.S. and F. Gaynor Evans, PhD.

Pediatrics Vol 64 No.6 December 1979
pg 961-963

The Journal of Trauma Vol 29 No 9 1989
John R. Hall, M.D., Hernan M. Reyes, M.D.,
Maria Horvat, B.S., Janet L. Meller, M.D.
and Robert Stein, M.D.

After researching the fragile nature of our skelatal features, I've become more safety minded and wish more of our students would understand the necessity of using good sense in dancing. [Pam Genovesi, Utah Dance Challenge]

> Losing weight

> Morton's Neuroma

> Joints, in particular knees and ankles

> Perspiration

> Web resources

Contents of the r.a.d. FAQ

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994-2001 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

Listen up: Victor did not write most of this stuff; he just collected it. So don't send him any dance questions.

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Last modified on: 2001, Friday January 5.