The booming children’s dance industry is set to be overhauled in a bid to combat lacklustre regulation and increasing injury risks.
Dance – encompassing jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, cheerleading, contemporary, Irish, acrobatic, musical theatre and lyrical – is more popular than all other Australian children’s sports or leisure activities except swimming, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
It boasts a 15 per cent participation rate and is growing fast, fuelled by television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dance Moms and by a ferocious social media culture on Instagram and YouTube which dance medicine experts say is behind a spike in serious injuries to girls as young as 12.
According to physiotherapist Debra Crookshanks, an International Association of Dance Medicine and Science board member, overtraining is rife because competitions and Eisteddfods are “fierce” and kids come to her with “advanced injuries”.
– Chris Johnston