Letter: An exercise in warming up

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would like to support the case made by Justin Howse regarding the need for warm air temperature for ballet dancers, following the cancellation of the English National Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker in Manchester (Letter, 2 December).

The National Organisation of Dance and Mime (now Dance UK) previously commissioned me to undertake a survey of professional dancers' injuries (BMA Journal, 1989). Information was collected from 141 professional ballet and modern dance companies in the UK. This showed that about four- fifths of the dancers reported having an injury at some time which had affected their dancing, and almost half reported that they were currently suffering from at least one chronic injury that gave them continuing problems. In addition, 42 per cent had sustained at least one injury in the previous six months which had affected their dancing.

A third of the dancers felt that the injuries could have been prevented by warmer theatres and studios (in addition to the warming-up exercises that they always do). Warmer theatres was one of the recommendations of the report. I hope the more dramatic action taken by members of the English National Ballet will now lead to some action on this.

Yours faithfully,


The Medical Colleges of

St Bartholomew's and the

Royal London hospitals

London, N2

2 December