Reflections on International Association for Dance Medicine and Science 28th Annual Conference, Finland, October 2018.

I often get a raised eyebrow that says ‘Come again?’ when I tell people I’m a dance psychologist. So imagine my joy at spending five days with over 400 kindred spirits at the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, this year hosted by Dance Health Finland. I’m going to share with you some personal psychology highlights (FYI: IADMS has a whopper of a programme including physiology, biomechanics, nutrition and education).

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Measuring Creativity

‘Creativity’ is a word used worldwide by dance institutions in their mission statements, aims and student feedback, and yet it is relatively unexplored within dance science from a quantitative perspective. Much research within dance psychology has focussed on the role of psychological wellbeing in relation to optimal technique in class, rehearsal or performance, but are dance scientists perhaps neglecting the dancer as a creative artist?

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Performance Anxiety

Stage fright, the heebie jeebies, a bad case of the willies. Call it what you will, but one thing is for sure, performance anxiety is the cruel mistress of many performing artists.

According to a recent survey conducted by Help Musicians UK, 75% of musicians said they had suffered from performance anxiety. Similarly, research from One Dance UK demonstrated that 92% of dancers had experienced psychological difficulty in the last 12 months, with over 30% experiencing performance anxiety. But what exactly is performance anxiety, why does it happen, and the big one we all want the answer to; how on earth do we get a grip of it?

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