University of Limerick
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Building the complete dancer: optimising health, performance and longevity in Irish dance

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posted on 2022-12-13, 14:30 authored by Róisin Máire Cahalan, KIERAN O'SULLIVANKIERAN O'SULLIVAN, Emma Redding, Edel Quin, ORFHLAITH NI BHRIAINORFHLAITH NI BHRIAIN, Peter B. O'Sullivan, Jasmine Challis
Irish dance is amongst Ireland’s most successful cultural exports, with current figures showing over 10,000 qualified Irish dancing teachers operating in thousands of schools in over 30 countries internationally1 . The decades since Riverdance, the critically acclaimed Irish music and dance stage show, have seen monumental developments in the complexity of Irish dance. This has precipitated markedly increased injury incidence, comparable to that in ballet and contemporary dance [Ref 1-4]. The biopsychosocial benefits of dancing have long been established, across genres and in both elite and nonelite cohorts. However, levels of pain and injury can be significant in elite dancers. Studies in Irish dance have recorded injury rates of 82.1% in adult elite cohorts over the previous year which compares to rates of approximately 80% in dancers from other elite genres. Direct comparisons of dancers in the same study showed that at least one injury was reported by 83.3% and 92.6% of contemporary and Irish dancers respectively [Ref 5].



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  • Allied Health
  • Irish World Academy of Music & Dance

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