I recently attended a meeting for the Dance/USA Taskforce on Dancer Health. It is a thrill to report that over twenty professional dance companies have implemented the post-hire health screen. Although more outcomes are still in development, one great benefit is the knowledge that dancers are acquiring in reference to their primary tool- their bodies!
I find it fascinating to learn what inherent or created imbalances exist both individually and within a company of dancers. There are some incredible people in the medical field donating many long hours for the well being of dancers.
One of the resources mention in the meeting was the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, aka IADMS. They have many articles on injury, injury prevention, healthy teaching practices and nutrition.
Here is an excerpt on fueling the dancer:
Nutrition Fact Sheet: Fueling the Dancer
To perform at their best, dancers need to be well fueled for classes, rehearsals, and performances. This paper will present a strategy for obtaining the energy needed for dance training and the right balance of carbohydrate, fat, protein, micronutrients, and fluids.
One important challenge facing many dancers is ingesting sufficient quantities of food to meet the energy demands of dance. The first step in planning a high performance diet is to be sure that the dancer is obtaining adequate caloric intake. The easiest rough estimate of how many calories a dancer requires during heavy training is 45-50 calories per kilogram of body weight for females and 50-55 calories per kilogram of body weight for males. For a more accurate assessment, dancers should consult a dietitian.
A low caloric intake will not only compromise energy availability, it can also lead to an under-ingestion of many micronutrients that could affect performance, growth and health. After calculating the number of calories needed, the next step is to estimate the necessary amount of carbohydrate, fat, and protein, the building blocks of the diets.
A dancer's diet should be composed of about 55-60% carbohydrate, 12-15% protein, and 20-30% fat