Unraveling the Complexities of Ballet Dancers’ Health: A Study on Stress Injuries, Fractures, and Eating Disorders

Researchers in Fort Worth are studying the health of female ballet dancers – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Ballet dancers face immense pressure to maintain their physical prowess and aesthetic appeal. This pressure often leads to sacrifices that can affect their health, particularly their bone health. Researchers at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are studying how these sacrifices impact dancers’ health, specifically their bone health.

Dr. Stephen Fung, a Performing Arts Medicine Fellow, was motivated to investigate why dancers experience stress injuries and fractures through his personal experience as a Dancesport competitor. He initiated a study to identify risk factors and solutions to prevent these injuries in ballet dancers. His research focuses on women dancers, acknowledging the biological differences that can impact their health.

Historically, female ballet dancers have been expected to be strong yet maintain a slender appearance. Dr. Fung emphasizes the importance of addressing the aesthetics that young dancers are concerned about during their training. This pressure may lead to body image issues, eating disorders, and calorie restriction among dancers seeking a certain look.

Bethany Bailey, a dance student and teacher at TCU, adds her perspective on this issue by discussing the prevalence of eating disorders in the dance community. She stresses the importance of promoting a healthy mindset and body image in dance departments. Bailey shares her personal experience with ballet, which she has been involved in since childhood.

Dr. Lee observes a cultural shift within the dance world towards prioritizing the health and well-being of dancers. The goal of their research is to create a self-assessment checklist for women ballet dancers to identify their risk factors and promote their overall health and enjoyment of dancing. Ultimately, the research aims to support dancers in staying healthy while pursuing their passion.

Researchers at UNT Health Science Center are working towards creating solutions that will help ballet dancers stay healthy while pursuing their passion for performance art.

Leave a Reply