New publication: Dance Science, gender and skeletal development
New publication on increasing awareness of gender diversity in teen and adult dancers in order to improve transgender health literacy for dancers, dance education, medicine and science professionals. The publication is a result of research conducted by Derrick D. Brown in collaboration with ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands, one of the founding partners of the NCPA. It brings together Dance Science, gender identity studies and skeletal development for the first time.
Dance is a beneficial activity for children and adolescents. Similar to sport, it can provide growing bodies with many physical and mental benefits. For example, targeted exercises like hops and skips in non-dancing children seem to improve bone health over a prolonged period. In contrast, dance as a professional pursuit affords children additional opportunities for aesthetic and artistic development. However, dance can also be physically demanding, even athletic and can exert grueling effects on the body and mind. Dancers push and often exceed limits in a quest for artistic excellence. As a result, adverse consequences, physically and mentally, can occur due to intense training combined with the aesthetic demands of the profession. Research across diverse dance genres reports a high incidence of injuries among both recreational and professional dancers. Dancers also face additional challenges duet poor dietary habits, disordered eating behavior, hormonal imbalance, along with poor bone health.
Traditionally, medical professionals have viewed dancers within the binary construct of male and female genders. Today however, gender diversity; especially in countries like the Netherlands in cooperation with medical professionals has improved the health and well being of many transgender individuals. In the dance world more examples of gender are in the public eye daily. On stage San Francisco based choreographer Sean Dorsey is heralded as the USA’s first transgender contemporary choreographer. Sophie Rebecca sat exams for her “intermediate foundation” qualification at the Royal Academy of Dance in the U.K.
In 2012 Americans eagerly supported Chaz (formerly Chastity) Bono, an openly transgender dancing contestant to compete in the US television programme Dancing with the Stars. In dance companies globally; transgender dancers who have chosen not to disclose their identity are working successfully as dance professionals. All of the examples above describe adults. But how do transgender youths navigate the process of embracing their gender identity when coupled with the desire to become a professional dancer? What physical and mental challenges must transgender youths entering dance academies and adults in professional dance companies face when they choose to live openly as transgender?
In 2009, The Endocrine Society in 2009 issued clinical guidelines for the treatment of transsexual persons, with special emphasis on support for pubertal suppression and cross- sex hormones in TG adolescents.
The option for adolescent pubertal suppression via cross-sex hormonal treatment and, eventually, for those who desire, sexual reassignment provides opportunities for enhanced well-being. These procedures are not without complications post-operatively. When compounded with the physical demands of dance, the potential physical/medical challenges for would-be future dancers increase. In sport, tentative steps have been taken in the discussion toward inclusion of TG athletes. Consequently, medical professionals recognize transgender adolescents and adults as a growing population who require guidance and care. In dance, extensive efforts have been taken in medicine, science, and education to provide safer and healthier environments for developing dancers. This article endeavours to add physiological factors of transgendered individuals to those efforts to increase health and well-being literacy.
The article; Gender Diversity, Sexual Orientation, and Bone Health in the Maturing Dancer reviews physical developmental factors relevant to transgendered individuals, particularly adolescents maturing into young adults, and aims to increase awareness of the potential health challenges of transgender persons and disseminate this knowledge to dance medicine, science, and education professionals.
The article is published in the Journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 32 Number 4: Page 221 (December 2017).
Title: Gender Diversity, Sexual Orientation, and Bone Health in the Maturing Dancer. From: Derrick D. Brown. It is accessible through the website: https://sciandmed.com/mppa/ Costs:18.00 USD
About the author
Derrick Brown M.Sc.(Hons) has worked for thirty years professionally in the dance world, first as a dancer, teacher and rehearsal director and now as a scientist/ researcher. He had danced for 10 years with the Mark Morris Dance Group as well as many companies throughout Europe. He taught in many dance companies and institutions throughout Europe including Les Ballet de Monte-Carlo, Galili Dans, and Culberg Ballet.
He gained his M.Sc. in Dance Science from the University of Wolverhampton U.K. and is a certified Sport/Performance Nutritionist. He is currently co-program manager and lecturer in dance science at the University of Bern Institute for Sport Science, Bern Switzerland and lecturer at ArtEZ University of the Arts (NL) and senior research fellow at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, (NL). He has co-authored numerous articles in dance science and two chapters on performance nutrition specifically for dancers. He is currently a doctoral student at Radboud University, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour where his research crosses theoretical models in cognitive and experimental psychology with queries in human movement (dance) performance research.
About the National Centre Performing Arts
The NCPA centralizes the performing artist and the enhancement of artistic performance. By operating as an interdisciplinary network, the NCPA connects diverse approaches to research and fields of expertise. The centre encourages interaction between professionals working in allied health disciplines, humanities, education and the performing arts.
The NCPA generates discourse in the following areas of development: Health, Talent, Continued Professional Development and Education. This is done by intertwining concept, method and practice.
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