Project information

National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science

To improve dancers' health and performance and prevent injury by researching, developing and providing comprehensive, evidence-based medical and dance science support services. This project is a significant advancement for dance, profoundly impacting dancers’ lives throughout the UK.

This project is ongoing but will incorporate a minimum 2 year research project .

Charity information: One Dance UK

One Dance UK logo
  • Need


    80% of dancers incur at least one injury each year which affects their ability to perform. To sustain employability for dancers in the UK and continue to build a thriving dance industry that remains a source of inspiration and aspiration for all, we need to ensure dancers stay fit and healthy enough to cope with the ever more exciting choreographic challenges thrown their way. To do this we need specialist, evidence-based healthcare and dance science support, accessible to dancers at all levels.


    The National Institute aims, through shared expertise and a network of multidisciplinary partners, to provide access for all dancers to high quality, evidence-based, dance specific healthcare and dance science services. This project will also provide, for the first time, the large-scale, prospective, epidemiological research needed to more fully understand the multi-dimensional causes of dance injury, in different populations of dancers, and the best strategies for preventing and treating them.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve awareness and understanding of the causes, extent and costs of dance injuries


    » Recruit participants for large-scale research. Minimum 100 dancers from dance forms including contemporary, hip hop and musical theatre, plus ballet.
    » Collect injury history of participant dancers and screen / profile their health and fitness at least twice a year during the 2-year research project.
    » Collect data on injuries incurred, time off dancing as a result, and their treatment over the 2 years. Provide individual feedback to dancers.

    Success will be recruitment of staff and dancers / companies for the research; the collection and analysis of year one's epidemiological data;, and individual feedback for dancers

    Aim 2

    New evidence gained of effective injury prevention interventions.


    » Analyse data collected in year one and use findings to design injury prevention and performance enhancement interventions. Implement these in year 2.
    » Analyse data collected in year two and compare with that in year one. Disseminate findings to all involved in dance through networks and conferences.

    Success will be design and delivery of injury prevention intervention programmes and the second year's data analysed for changes / improvements to heath and performance.

    Aim 3

    Provide the opportunity for knowledge exchange across the fields of dance and sport.


    » Work with colleagues doing similar research in sport to design the research project and compare findings across different genres.
    » Use existing sports / dance facilities to house the project's researchers and practitioners.

    Success will be robust partnerships formed with key sports medicine and science delivery bodies / individuals and sharing of methodology, findings and facilities.

    Aim 4

    Enhance healthcare provision and dance science support for dancers working and training in the UK


    » Expand and publicize NHS and private specialist healthcare, to ensure dancers can gain access easily and know how to find it.
    » Use the information gained from the research to inform plans for cost effective provision of support services for dancers long-term.
    » Disseminate research findings widely to ensure dance institutions know how to look after their dancers and keep them dancing stronger for longer.

    Success will be provision of new, cost effective, comprehensive specialist services taking on board the findings / recommendations from the research.

  • Impact


    This project will be the largest and most detailed of its kind in dance, providing new information for all those working with dancers to inform best practice in dance training and the treatment and prevention of dance related injury. It will kick start an evidence-based way of working and if successful we will see dance organisations continuing to monitor the effectiveness of the services / training they provide, adjusting them accordingly and investing more wisely, reducing the rate of injury.


    Insufficient dancers participating or drop out once started the project
    - We are in close cummunication with the dance community and have secured many expressions of interest. Participants will sign an agreement to commit to seeing the project through.

    Budget overruns due to increase in costs while we secure funding
    - We are keeping a close eye on the costs of all project elements and adjusting the budget accordingly as we receive new information.


    We will be flexible and able to report to donors in the manner they require. If required we will feedback progress via brief email updates when key milestones are reached, eg recruitment, data collection commenced, initial findings produced etc and following quarterly steering group meetings.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £543,480

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £321,000 Staffing / project management 2 researchers, 2 physiotherapists and 1 medical officer as frontline staff plus project management
      £183,980 Medical & injury audit costs Insurance, routine consumables, overheads, database purchase / training
      £38,500 Screening and dissemination Design and delivery of dance specific health / fitness tests. Presentation of reports / papers.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Jerwood Charitable Foundation £80,000 Guaranteed
    British Harlequin £30,000 Guaranteed
    Individual donors £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    There will be medical / science hubs based in London and Birmingham at the project's partner institutions: Trinity Laban conservatoire of music and dance, Birmingham Royal Ballet's Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries, University of Wolverhampton, University of Birmingham and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. These will be where the core research and treatment will take place for the project. Other dance companies will also take part from around the UK.


    Research findings will inform those who are teaching, leading and participating in dance activity in all contexts, and treating dance, sport and exercise related injuries in the general public and at elite level: 58,000 medical practitioners and 4.5 million participants / educators. 3000 elite dancers will benefit from improved specific, individualised and generalised knowledge of what causes injury and advice on how to prevent it. Dancers will have better access to specialist healthcare.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Dance UK is the national voice for dance aiming to improve the conditions in which dance is created, performed and experienced. Its Healthier Dancer Programme is a world leader in the promotion of dancers' health and well-being. Our members include all the major dance companies and colleges. We are therefore ideally placed and trusted as an independent body representing their interests with the necessary contacts and expertise.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Emma Redding PhD

    Emma is the Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban. Laban will be a London base for the participants to access medical services and screening.

    Matt Wyon PhD

    An experienced sports / dance physiologist at Wolverhampton University, Matt is key scientific advisor on the project, delivering fitness screening.

    Nick Allen MCSP

    Clinical Director of the Jerwood Centre, which will be the Birmingham base for the participants to access medical services and screening.

    Roger Wolman MB ChB MD FRCP

    Dr Wolman is a Consultant in Rheumatology and Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, running the dance injury clinic.

Clip from the launch of the National Institute


will cover a week of physio for an injured dancer

This is so important. I am absolutely behind this. Dance is totally dependent upon its artists' ability to sustain long and healthy careers.

Kenneth Tharp