The dancers also filled out several questionnaires that measured positive and negative life events, support available from a dancer’s social network and a performance anxiety scale that measured fears about performing poorly.
In an earlier published paper from this study, the researchers found that high levels of life stress and low social support were predictors of injuries among dancers.
Many dancers have eating disorders and they lead very, very stressful lives.
The level of precision required is comparable to that of an Olympic gymnast.” To probe dancing injuries, Smith and J. Ptacek, an associate professor of psychology at Bucknell University, and Elizabeth Patterson, a retired ballet dancer and former UW undergraduate student, studied 46 members of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company in Seattle.
The new study focuses on anxiety as a factor in performance injuries.
Anxiety has physical and cognitive components, according to Smith.
Sixteen years ago when I was a thigh-high, tiptoeing toddler, being a dancer meant I lived in a cozy home without living-room furniture, dressed daily in rummage sale prom dresses and pink tutus, leaped and swirled to the crescendo of Antonio Vivaldi from the stereo, and beamed when my mom glorified my final bow, “Bravo ma petite enfant! ” before serving lemonade and shortbread refreshments to our make believe audience.
As a child dancer, the love and gift to dance came to me like a birthright.
One is that if you are performing while physically tense you are more likely to be injured,” said Smith.
“Another is that if your mind is not on the task at hand, if you are worried or not focused, it is easier to get hurt.