Research in Dance Medicine and Science

Research Participation Opportunities

To advertise for research participants, please fill in the Healthier Dancer Programme_research opportunities form. Email completed forms to [email protected]

There is a growing body of dance medicine and science-focused research that aims to improve our understanding of what it takes to produce healthy, high performing dancers. Remember that research cannot happen without participants, so as dancers, teachers, choreographers, and those actively working within the dance industry you have a very valuable role to play within the scientific research process.

Organisations such as The International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) promote research excellence within the dance medicine and science community as well as producing resources to disseminate research recommendations within the wider dance community.

We know that many professional dance companies and vocational dance schools are frequently approached by researchers, undergraduate as well as postgraduate, to take part in their projects. In order to help prevent these dancers suffering from ‘research fatigue’, while encouraging participation in research, we have produced a checklist (below) for schools and companies to help you decide on the quality of research opportunities presented to you and prioritise those you take part in. These points could also apply to individuals in deciding whether to participate in research or not.

Research participation checklist:

  • Is the research at postgraduate level, with the intention for it to be published?
  • Is the research applied research that will have a practical bearing on dancers’ health, wellbeing, performance capabilities or education, on an individual level, organisational level or for the dance world at large?
  • Is the researcher planning to or have they sought input from dance professionals in choosing what to research and/or designing the research?
  • Is the researcher offering to provide feedback during and/or following the research that will be useful to the dancers and their work/training?
  • Have you or the researcher sought advice from One Dance UK’s HDP to ensure that this research project complements or adds to the research knowledge base and is not unnecessarily duplicating work already done?

If you can answer yes to these points it is likely to be worth your while taking part in a research project that may benefit dancers, company and the dance world at large.

Current opportunities:

Listed below are research projects being conducted by One Dance UK members, which are currently seeking participants. If you are interested in taking part please do get in touch with the researchers directly or if you have any questions or concerns contact the Healthier Dancer Programme: [email protected].

Including the maternal body in dance: Investigating the integration of maternal dancers into the UK professional dance sector.

Project summary:

My research investigates experiences of maternity in dance, and how a dedicated system of training might ensure safe physiological practice for freelance, maternal dancers. Consequently, I hope to support the normalization of the aesthetic and presence of maternal dancers within a dance training context, and thus contribute to normalizing their participation in a professional, performance context.


  • To create a dedicated system of training that ensures safe physiological practice for freelance, maternal dancers.


  • To conduct a multi-mode inquiry that utilises a range of methods to understand which specific physiological and biomechanical processes limit the dancer’s ability to perform during pregnancy.
  • To extrapolate relevant knowledge from sports science literature relating to pregnancy to optimize dancers’ physical health, maternal knowledge, and dance practice during gestation.
  • Draw upon movement praxis as the primary method during the empirical phases whereby the dissemination of the maternal pedagogy will take place.

Start date of the project: 12/08/2021

End date of the project: 01/10/2025

Start date of testing: 07/01/2022

End date of testing: 06/01/2023

Research Setting:

Location: Online: Microsoft Teams

Duration: 1 hour (max)

Required number of sessions: Participants may choose to engage in one-off interviews or, if they are earlier on in their pregnancy or postpartum journey, progressive interview. Progressive interviews can be bi-weekly, monthly, or once per trimester.

Time of interview: The researcher will work flexibly to a time and schedule that best suits the participant’s commitments.

Confidentiality and ethical approval:

Queen’s University Belfast’s School of Arts, English and Languages Ethics Committee has reviewed and approved this research project. Supervisor Dr Aoife McGrath is ethically responsible for this project.

Inclusion Criteria:

To participate in this research, you must be:

  • Pregnant, or postpartum (from birth to up to 12 months)
  • A freelance professional dancer (you do not have to currently be in work/a contract to take part)

Exclusion Criteria: 

If you do not fall within this criterion but know someone who does and might be interested in taking part, forward this advertisement onto them.

Benefits to the participant:

By taking part, you will be contributing to an important and original study. Research at the intersection of dance and maternity is limited. In participating you will be providing a valuable contribution necessary for the acquisition and progression of new knowledge in this field. Your data will be used to evidence new recommendations for maternal dancers that will be applied to the dance industry in hope that it can reshape the sectors’ attitudes and practices towards maternity.

Contact details:

Name: Chloe Hillyar

Email:[email protected]



An investigation into the impact of perfectionism and pain coping strategies on dance teacher burnout

Project summary:

Causes and levels of professional dance teacher burnout have not been widely investigated or reported. The aim of this study is to establish whether perfectionism traits or pain management strategies have any relationship to levels of burnout experienced by professional dance teachers. Taking part in the research involves completing an anonymous online questionnaire which will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Start date of the project: 01/03/22

End date of the project: 24/06/22

Start date of testing: 14/06/22          

End date of testing: 20/06/22

Research Setting:

I am a student on the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology at the University of Derby.

Research data will be collected through an online anonymous questionnaire conducted on Qualtrics. Participants access the questionnaire via the link below.

Confidentiality and ethical approval:

Information collected for this study will be kept confidential and responses will be submitted anonymously. Anonymous answers from the survey may be used as part of the research findings in the final written report and may be published. Each person taking part in the study will create a unique participant code to store their data anonymously.

Ethical approval was gained from the University of Derby. This study has been reviewed by two members of staff on behalf of the University of Derby College of Health, Psychology and Social Care Research Ethics Committee and is in accordance with the ethical guidelines of the British Psychological Society; a professional body of psychologists in the UK who overview research to ensure that it protects the safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity of anyone who takes part.

Inclusion Criteria:

Dance teachers who are:

  • Professionally qualified with a recognised dance teaching organisation (eg. RAD, ISTD, IDTA, BBO, university degree)
  • Full-time dance teacher of any genre of theatrical dance (eg. ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, tap, musical, theatre, hip hop)
  • Over 18 years old

Exclusion Criteria: 

  • Teachers who are retired or on a career break
  • Teachers with a diagnosed mental health condition
  • Teachers of dance fitness classes or non-theatrical dance

Benefits to the participant:

By taking part participants will be helping to further understanding of levels of burnout in professional dance teachers and its causes. This is currently an area lacking in research.

Contact details:

Name: Emma Hayward

Email: [email protected]


The effects of low energy availability on female hormone networks and blood glucose control in female exercisers.

Project summary:

Low Energy Availability (LEA) in female exercisers is a result of a high training load and potential eating restrictions due to various demands, expectations, and pressures. This phenomenon has been described as RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sports). The study will aim to look at the awareness of the syndrome and identify indicators of LEA and its impact on the hormonal profile of female dancers. The research will consist of a questionnaire, finger prick tests (hormone profiling), anthropometrics and continuous glucose monitoring to determine their impact on LEA on female exercisers.

Start date of the project: 01.06.2022

End date of the project: 31.08.2022

Start date of testing: 18.06.2022

End date of testing: 24.08.2022

Research Setting:

The data collected for this study will be used as part of our postgraduate research projects (Clinical and Public Health Nutrition MSc).

  • The questionnaire will be available to complete by participants in June, July, and August 2022.
  • Finger prick blood tests (done via Forth with Life logistics) will be sent to dancers’ homes on a first come, first served basis, and then sent back to the lab. Results will be shared online in the portal.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring (done via HELLOINSIDE logistics) will be sent to dancers’ homes on a first come, first served basis, and results will be shared online in the portal.
  • Anthropometric measurements will be conducted at UCL Bloomsbury Campus.


Confidentiality and ethical approval:

UCL Research and Ethics Committee has revised and approved this research project. Supervisor Dr Adrian Slee is ethically responsible for this project.

Inclusion Criteria:

To participate in this research, you must be:

  • Female dancer aged 18 or above (over 40 is also encouraged)
  • Currently exercising 3 or more hours a week
  • Having at least 9 periods per year
  • Not pregnant or taking hormonal contraception.

Exclusion Criteria: 

  • Pregnant women
  • Women taking hormonal contraception
  • Women who have not had a period in the last six months.

Benefits to the participant:

By taking part, you will be contributing to an important and original study. Research into LEA in dancers, specifically, perimenopausal dancers is limited. In participating you will be contributing valuable information needed for the progression of new knowledge in this field. This is an opportunity to perform free of charge female hormone modelling test based on just 2 finger prick samples and glucose monitoring. These measurements are not routinely offered to active females and could therefore be very beneficial to them (in terms of their training plans and an indicator of general endocrine health). Thus, benefits include a discussion with review and explanation of blood tests.

Contact details:

Name: Fabiola Hauwel, Alessandra Marchi

Email: [email protected] , [email protected]