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A Proposal for Standardized Psychological Screening of Dancers

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Anatomic and physiologic screening of dancers, conducted on a regular basis, is by now a widely accepted aid to injury prevention and the enhancement of performance. The primary focus of screening procedures to date has been on assessing orthopedic and fitness parameters: on detecting those unique physical characteristics of the individual dancer that, in combination with the demands of the dance form being practiced, over time, may cause injuries or impede optimal performance. This is all well and good; however, it leaves unaccounted for the influence of the dancer's psyche, which, through the mind-body connection, can produce equally detrimental effects. It is the authors' contention that the efficacy of virtually all screening procedures currently in use could be greatly increased by adding to them a comprehensive, standardized, psychological component. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate what such a component might look like, and to discuss some of the problems involved in, and important benefits to be derived from, its implementation.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: New York City Ballet, 2000 Broadway PH-2C, New York, New York 10023 2: University of California, Santa Cruz 3: Santa Cruz, California

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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