Dance is now more popular than all other Australian children’s sports or leisure activities except for swimming, according the Australian Bureau of Statistics and is growing fast. Girls just LOVE to dance and shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” are getting more and more kids excited about it. But a recent Sydney Morning Herald report revealed that there’s a spike in serious injuries to young teenage girls.
A Sydney University study found a risk of chronic injury to dancers under 14 years who train more than 8.5 hours a week. But it’s the push to be super-flexible that’s causing the most grief, fuelled by a social media culture on Instagram and Youtube, with a particular type of hyper-extended move that is causing the most injury to hips and backs.
Melinda Purnell, a physiotherapist doing PhD research, says “We are seeing injuries in 12-13 year olds that are commonly seen in professional dancers. It’s scary.” She says hip cartilage damage and stress fractures are increasing with the trend to turn dancers into ‘contortionists’. Where will it all end? Where once a 180 split was considered perfect and created a beautiful line, now girls are pushed into oversplits to as much as 270 degrees, causing damage to growth plates in the hips. And from an aesthetic perspective it’s not even attractive. Karen van Ulzen, editor of Dance Magazine says dancers are at risk of becoming “performing monkeys”.
So where does Physie fit in this picture? Physie is the safe alternative to the current trend towards extreme flexibility. In Physie, a 180 split is perfect and there’s no benefit to extending past this – no extra marks, no reward from the judges, no praise from your teacher. If you go past 180, you are just ruining the line.
At BJP Physie, we believe that girls should be able to dance for their whole life. And so our choreography is tailored to the physical needs of their bodies, as they grow and mature – from a 3 year old in the preschooler class, right through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and into their senior years. Physie is a life-long passion, with moves that will challenge you – your strength, your core control, your expression, your musicality and, yes your flexibility – but in a safe way. If you love to dance, why should you ever have to stop? Its simple – you don’t.