By recognising the dancer as an artistic athlete, Dance Scientists strive to optimise the dancer’s potential as an elite performer through areas such as physiology, psychology, nutrition, and biomechanics. Additionally, by measuring the effect of regular dance activity, Dance Scientists are able to explore the unique benefits that dance can have on other populations. It is an exciting time to be involved in Dance Science, as the number of questions emerging from the field far outweigh the number of answers. It is remarkable that until only recently the words ‘dance’ and ‘science’ would have been rarely used within the same sentence. Dance Science investigates the quantitative and qualitative aspects of dance training and performance, combining a range of scientific disciplines into a flexible working practice for dancers, choreographers and dance teachers.
Exploring the Science behind the Art
Dance Science is a fast growing area of research and study. Its aims are to investigate ways of understanding and enhancing dance practice through a variety of methodological approaches and explores the impact of dance on areas of health and well-being among other populations.
Use the navigation bar to the right to explore the Dance Science department at Trinity Laban.
Trinity Laban's Role In Dance Science
Trinity Laban is known internationally as a leader in Dance Science and was the first institution in the world to offer an MSc in Dance Science in 2001. Since then the student intake has increased, with around 20 full time students enrolling each year.
'Trinity Laban's MSc Dance Science is significantly contributing to the growing field and knowledge base of dance science and health, producing quality dance scientists to work with the UK's quality performers.'
Caroline Miller, Director, Dance UK
Laban also has a strong connection with the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS). In 2003, Laban hosted the IADMS annual conference and during the last 5 years, there have been more presentations at the conference from Laban than any other institution in the world.
The Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban, Dr. Emma Redding, was president of the IADMS Board of Directors 2011-2013. Working in association with Dance UK's Healthier Dancer programme, Laban has pioneered research in Dance Science and health and continues to work for better health provision for dancers.
THE DANCE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AT LABAN
Dance Science is perfectly situated alongside Health and Pilates at Laban. It supports a versatile laboratory that is inhabited for lecturers, seminars, testing and research. The faculty and students have access to a range of specialised dance science testing equipment.
Part of the success of Dance Science at Laban is due to the inspirational, versatile and passionate team, led by Dr. Emma Redding. All the team are or have been dancers/performing artists at some point in their career and they all share a passion for advancing the knowledge, understanding and application of dance practice through their on-going teaching and research within Dance Science.
DANCE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY
The main aims of the department are to investigate ways of enhancing dance training, optimising dancer performance and exploring the physiological and psychological effect of dance as a form of physical activity.
In addition to developing the first ever Masters Degree in Dance Science, the Dance Science department is constantly involved in undertaking research, and collaborating with external organisations to provide consultancy in areas such as investigating dance within community settings, optimising performance health, and devising performer-specific training programmes.
Our partners within this area of Dance Science range from commissioning bodies such as regional councils to professional dance companies at the forefront of the dance industry in the UK.
With over 300 dance students in full-time professional training and strong relationships with many UK leading Contemporary Dance companies, Laban has unparalleled access to potential research participants which gives both credibility and validity to any investigation.
Find out more about our department's research and consultancy work.
Take a look at our Research and Publications summary
Research partnership with Wayne McGregor|Random Dance R-Research Department
In 2011 Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Wayne McGregor|Random Dance R-Research Department established a partnership to develop a joint dance science research project to study the creative process in dance.
Several experimental pilot studies at Trinity Laban have been conducted in the last year, discussions with staff and students organised, and a large grant application is in the early planning stage. On 19 October 2012 Trinity Laban and WM|RD co-hosted a one-day interdisciplinary seminar for invited guests only entitled: "Imagery and Creativity in Performing Arts: decision making, problem solving and breaking habits".
On Wednesday 20 March, Tony Thatcher and Emma Redding were invited to give a presentation at the new Cognition Institute, University of Plymouth as part of the institute's 1st Symposium on mental imagery and creativity.
The aim of Tony and Emma's presentation was to share a choreographic process which incorporates touch and score in order to pose questions around that process in relation to existing reference on dance imagery. This presentation was given as part of the research strand of the Trinity Laban partnership with Random Dance Wayne McGregor. The Random Dance researchers Professor Jon May, School of Psychology at University of Plymouth, Phil Barnard (formerly at the Medical Institute for Cognition, Cambridge University) and Scott deLaHunta also participated in the Symposium.