In case you missed it: An article by Greenstone Belly Dance founder, Siobhan Camille, was featured in the January 2020 edition of Zameena magazine! Read on below for a sneak peek, and check out the full article here.

The New Year is upon us!

And for 2020, I’d like to propose a different sort of New Year’s Resolution.
One that doesn’t focus on the size of our bodies, or on avoiding certain foods. One that doesn’t focus on how our bodies look in a bikini, but rather, one that focuses on how our bodies function and feel during dance and life.

Dance allows us an outlet to express ourselves whilst keeping active at the same time. However, too often as dancers we spend all our time loving the dance, and neglecting to maintain the condition and strength of our bodies to keep up with our graceful, strong, and at times athletic movements.

I’ve met many young dancers who are secretly nursing niggly injuries that they try to ignore, and older professional belly dancers who tell me they wish they had taken better care of their bodies when they were younger. Whether you’re a professional dancer, or just dancing for fun, you can help reduce your injury risk (and improve your dance stamina and technique) if you put some time into looking after your body.

As part of my work, I conducted the first ever scientific study examining injury incidence in belly dancers. From the results of this, and combined with almost a decade of experience working in injury rehabilitation and athletic performance, I have some ideas on what we, as dancers, can do to look after our bodies.

To ensure you’re dancing strongly into 2020 and beyond, here are my 4 quick tips for happier, healthier bodies!

  1. Be active outside of belly dance

In our study of 118 female belly dancers, participation in non-dance-related exercise was associated with a significant decrease in injury rate.[1]

This may come as no surprise to some of you, as it’s well known that training in other types of exercise has been found to reduce injury in professional dancers of other styles.[2]

Working on your strength (think bodyweight exercises like squats and push ups, or using weights or resistance bands), and aerobic fitness (with activities like swimming, cycling or jogging), can be beneficial as it can help make your body more resilient, and better able to deal with the demands of dance.[3],[4]

My personal motto is that I always want to be stronger and fitter than my performance or teaching schedule actually requires, so I’m less likely to experience injury.

Be easy on yourself if this is your first time incorporating non-dance exercise into your schedule. If you’re not exercising at all during the week apart from belly dance, jumping into 5 days of training will be both unrealistic for your motivation, and perhaps even lead to an injury from such a sudden change in your training load!

Start low, progress slow: Aim to add in just one 20 minute strength session per week, or start getting off the bus or train a stop earlier to work and take a brisk walk the rest of the way. Look for places to sneak in just 10 minutes of continuous exercise into your day, then build from there.

Want to read the other 3 tips? Check out the full article here in Zameena magazine!

References:

  1. Milner SC, Gray A, Bussey M. A Retrospective Study Investigating Injury Incidence and Factors Associated with Injury Among Belly Dancers. J. Dance Med. Sci. 2019 Mar 15;23(1):26-33.
  2. Bronner S, Ojofeitimi S, Rose D. Injuries in a modern dance company: effect of comprehensive management on injury incidence and time loss. Am J Sports Med. 2003 May-Jun;31(3):365-73.
  3. Koutedakis Y, Pacy P, Sharp NCC, Dick F. Is fitness necessary for dancers? Dance Res. 1996 Oct;14(2):105-18.
  4. Koutedakis Y, Jamurtas A. The dancer as a performing athlete: physiological considerations. Sports Med. 2004 Aug;34(10):651-61.

In case you missed it: The recording of my podcast with Belly Dance Geek is now live! I chat about my research into injury in belly dancers, my top tips for injury prevention, and moooooore. 

In the podcast, you’ll learn:

  • What we know about injury in (belly) dance according to current scientific research
  • 4 top tips for injury prevention in your own practice
  • How to structure warm-ups and, cool-downs and general classes for optimal performance and injury prevention

Head over to the Belly Dance Geek Clubhouse website now to download the podcast!

Dear dancers and dance-lovers,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you’re having a fantastic holiday season. I’m taking a ten-minute break from my vacation to let you all know what we have in store for Greenstone Belly Dance in 2020.

I’m currently still in New Zealand, visiting my family and friends, dancing a bit along the way, but most of all, taking a much needed break. I’m getting some sun, doing a lot of walking, and reconnecting with people I love. It’s been wonderful to be home and be reminded of everything that makes New Zealand so unique. I’ll be sure to share more pictures upon my return.

A little snap from a stroll in the sunshine around the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand

I’ll be back in action in the Netherlands from January 2nd, and we’ve got a few events and classes planned for the New Year!

First up are our free belly dance trial classes! Come and try belly dance for Beginners absolutely free in Rotterdam on Wednesday the 15th of January, or join us in Delft on Thursday the 16th of January to try Beginner or Improver Belly Dance.

Secondly, we’re planning a completely free hafla in conjunction with Shimmy Shake. If you’d like to perform, we’d love to have you – just register for your slot before January 1! Otherwise, sign up for your free ticket via the Shimmy Shake website. There will be games, socialising, and a chance to dance!

Finally, the earlybird discount for Drum Solo Secrets: Spring Workshops & Hafla 2020 ends December 31! If you’d like to save 5 euro, rush over to our Events page!

Happy holidays, and see you all in 2020! 

In addition to being the founder and director of Greenstone Belly Dance, Siobhan is a Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist and Strength & Conditioning Coach. This blog post was originally written by Siobhan for her Safe Dance Column in the Middle Eastern Dance Association of New Zealand Newsletter. You can join MEDANZ to access their newsletters and find out more about MEDANZ here.  Photo by Theuns Verwoerd.

As dancers, you’re probably familiar with the acronym R.I.C.E.D for injury management (and if you’re not, you will be!). But injury and exercise science progresses every year, and there are now reasons to examine whether or not the R.I.C.E.D method is right for your injury, and to consider using the more up to date “No H.A.R.M” method. What do each of these entail? Read on to find out!

Managing A Dance Injury_ A Blog Post by Siobhan Camille of Greenstone Belly Dance.png

R.I.C.E.D (Or R.I.C.E.R) and what we know now

R is for Rest: Previous wisdom suggested that if we had an injury in a certain area, we should rest that area. Think of how bed rest used to be prescribed for back pain.

What we know now: Complete rest of an injured site can actually delay recovery time and make it much harder to regain strength when you do return to activity.[1][2] This doesn’t mean dancing on a foot with a stress fracture, mind you! But is aqua jogging or swimming an option that doesn’t cause pain? We recommend keeping injured areas active, but modifying the movement. There is almost always an option to keep moving, so consult a specialist if you’re not sure how.

I is for Ice: We used to advise that injury sites should be iced in 20 minute intervals, making sure that direct contact wasn’t made with the skin.

What we know now: Ice is great for stopping pain, but if you ice too frequently, or for more than 10 minutes at a time, you may actually increase swelling, and therefore pain. Ice is not likely to “burn” if it is in direct contact with the skin (it’s in the process of melting, not freezing), and icing through a towel may not provide enough cooling to dull the pain. If you want to help reduce your pain, you can apply ice directly on the skin for a maximum of 10 minutes every hour during the first 24-48 hours after injury. There doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to say that ice has an impact on healing,[3],[4],[5] but regardless of this, it is a cheap, safe way to deal with most types of pain. So don’t suffer if you’re hurting, get out the ice if you want it!

C is for Compression: It was common to advise bandaging an injury to prevent further swelling, bleeding or damage.

What we know now: We still recommend compression to an injured site to limit the amount of bleeding.[6] This applies to sprains and some bad bruises. However, just make sure your bandage isn’t so tight that it cuts off circulation! Moving as soon as you are able still applies. For lower limb injuries, for example, you can also walk (or even point and flex the toes) as soon as possible to use the calf muscle “pump” to help reduce swelling.[7]

E is for Elevation: We used to recommend elevating an injured site to help prevent gravity adding to any swelling.[8]

What we know now: We still recommend this – gravity can be a powerful thing! For best results, elevate the injured site above the heart.

D is for Diagnosis/R is for Referral: We used to recommend seeking a diagnosis and/or assistance from a medical professional for your injury.

What we know now: ….And we still do! Sometimes just knowing exactly what the problem is can help a lot with management (I’ve seen several cases where an individual has thought they’ve just sprained something, which has turned out to be a fracture – the two need to be handled quite differently!). I generally recommend seeing some sort of musculoskeletal specialist, such as a physiotherapist (especially in countries like Canada or New Zealand where physiotherapists undergo university-level training), rather than your home doctor or GP when it comes to sports or dance injuries.

So what now? Do no H.A.R.M: An update to our recommendations

The “Do no H.A.R.M” acronym was created to address some of the gaps missing in R.I.C.E.D, and provides important updates for us as we look after our bodies as dancers.

This means, in the 48-72 hours following an injury, there should be:

No Heat: Sometimes it can be tempting to take a warm bath or hot shower after hurting yourself at dance practice. However, if you heat up your injured site, you can increase blood flow to the area, thereby increasing swelling and pain.

No Alcohol: Alcohol also increases swelling and bleeding at injury sites which can delay healing. It can of course also inhibit perception of pain, so you may make your injury worse.[9]

No Re-injury: Sounds simple, right? But there is where you need to be careful regarding movement. Don’t put the injured area under too much stress; find how to keep it active safely, but don’t jump right back into everything you were doing at full force. It might be tempting to dance “just at half-effort” on your sprained ankle, but it’s not worth it if you want to recover well.

No Massage: Massage can also increase bleeding and swelling to an area by stimulating blood flow, thereby making pain worse. This applies mainly to injuries where swelling is present or possible, such as sprained ankles, fractures, etc. For something like low back pain? Probably not such an issue. (Refer to my last article on the tweaky low back to get some ideas on how to address this for dancers!).

A final note on swelling….

Swelling is not actually a bad thing when we are initially injured. When an injured site is swollen, this is an immune response from the body to start the healing process. It allows white blood cells to come along and clean up the injured area and clear away dead cells. However, this should generally only last for a few days. When we’re applying ice (not too frequently; see above again if you’re unsure) or avoiding heat, we’re not doing this to help with swelling, we’re doing it to help with the pain cycle. Because inflammation is actually helpful in the initial phases of injury,[10] we don’t recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) in the first 48-72 hours of an injury.

After that, if swelling still persists, it can be wise to take a dose of ibuprofen for 2-3 days to knock the swelling on the head so it does not develop into chronic inflammation. Unlike the swelling that occurs right at the beginning of an injury, chronic inflammation is actually associated with slower healing. Bottom line: We need a bit of swelling when we’re first injured, but we don’t want to let it stick around too long!

[1] Buckwater & Grodzinsky (1999). Loading of healing bone, fibrous tissue, and muscle: implications for orthopaedic practice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10504356

[2] Bayer (2017). Early versus Delayed Rehabilitation after Acute Muscle Injury: https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMc1708134

[3] Collins (2008). Is ice right? Does cryotherapy improve outcome for acute soft tissue injury? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18212134

[4] Van de Bekerom et al. (2012). What is the evidence for rest, ice, compression, and elevation therapy in the treatment of ankle sprains in adults?https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=22889660

[5] Malanga et al. (2015). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25526231

[6] Bleakley (2013). Acute soft tissue injury management: past, present, and future. Physical Therapy in Sport; 14: 73-74.

[7] Goddard, Pierce, & McLeod (2008). Reversal of Lower Limb Edema by Calf Muscle Pump Stimulation.  Cardiopulm. Rehabil. Prev., 28:174-179.

[8] Järvinen et al. (2007). Muscle injuries: optimising recovery. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol;21(2):317-31.

[9] Suter & Schutz (2008). The effect of exercise, alcohol or both combined on health and physical performance. International Journal of Obesity, 32(6): 48-52.

[10] Stovitz & Johnson (2003). NSAIDs and musculoskeletal treatment: what is the clinical evidence? Phys Sportsmed., 31(1):35-52.

Good morning, everyone! I hope you’re adapting well to the colder weather. Still not a lot of rain here, let’s hope it stays that way a bit longer. 😉

There’s a lot going on with Greenstone Belly Dance in Delft, Hillegersberg and Central Rotterdam this semester, so I thought I better update you all!

The 11 week class session in Delft starts tonight, Thursday the 19th of September, and there are still spaces in both the Beginners (18:00) and Intermediate/Advanced (19:00) classes! The Intermediate/Advanced class will be preparing a performance for the Autumn Hafla, and the Beginners class may have the option as well – we’ll discuss tonight.

AutumnBellyDanceClasses2019DelftBeginnersIntermediateAdvancedGreenstoneBellyDanceHollandBuikdanslessen

As for Hillegersberg, I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be teaching a special 4 week series on Golden Era Belly Dance, with a particular focus on the dance of Samia Gamal and the music of Farid Al-Atrache. We’ll be preparing a group choreography, and there will also be an opportunity to perform this at the hafla!

Golden Era Belly Dance in Rotterdam Greenstone Belly Dance Buikdanslessen Nederland copy

Finally, as I’m sure you’ve guessed from all the mentioning in this post, we have a hafla next month! I’m absolutely thrilled to be bringing the stunning Amanda Rose to the Netherlands for the very first time. She is not only an amazing teacher, but a fantastic dancer, and she’ll be teaching workshops before the hafla. But be quick if you want to register – we are already 75% sold out! Find all the details and register to learn with her here.

Amanda Rose hosted by Greenstone Belly Dance in the Netherlands, October 2019.

I think that’s all for now, folks! I’ve got a lot of fabulous ideas brewing for 2020…. Stay tuned. 😉

Life experience is dance experience: are you ready to show your vulnerability on stage?

No matter your dance style, being clear on the message you want to communicate, and learning how to communicate and share yourself with the audience, will enrich your performances.

Want to take your dance to the next level? Join us for “Bellydance and the Authentic Self” with Amanda Rose at 14:00 on Saturday October 26 in Rotterdam (And there’s still places to perform at the hafla if you want to put your learning into practice that evening!).

Register now here to take your dance expression even further. Watch the full Q&A with Amanda Rose here.

Come and try something new, strengthen your core muscles and learn about another culture. Greenstone Belly Dance is offering two free trial classes at Zaal 49 (Singelstraat 49) in Delft! Join us on Thursday September 12 for free in Delft from 18:00-19:00 for beginners, or from 19:00-20:00 for intermediate/advanced belly dancers. You can even bring a friend with you!

Register here now, and join the Facebook event here!

AutumnBellyDanceClasses2019DelftBeginnersIntermediateAdvancedGreenstoneBellyDanceHollandBuikdanslessen

Kom en probeer iets nieuws, versterk je kernspieren en leer over een nieuwe cultuur. Greenstone Belly Dance biedt twee gratis proeflessen aan bij Zaal 49 (Singelstraat 49) in Delft! Kom op donderdag 12 september gratis naar Delft, van 18.00 – 19.00 uur voor beginners, of van 19:00 – 20:00 voor halfgevorderden/gevorderden. Je kunt zelfs een vriend(in) meenemen!

Schrijf u nu hier in!