Programme Health & Performance

Attention for health and wellbeing is a crucial investment when it comes to improving the quality and duration of an artistic career. Students at the Academy of Theatre and Dance endure a high degree of physical and mental stress. It is essential therefore, that a student learns to take on a responsible way of working. Moreover, the study programme and the future employer are co-responsible for a healthy environment, conducive to study and work. Since the start of the 1990s  the Academy of Theatre and Dance has steadily developed an unique Health & Performance programme. The programme consists of three parts: education, advice & guidance and research.

Read the Health & Performance department's report on the four-day conference - International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS).


Health & Performance
All first year students will have an introduction classe and all dance students will follow a series of classes about Health & Performance, H&P basic classes. Among other topics, these classes teach them about the balance between load (what is demanded of a student) and load bearing capacity (the amount of load a student can cope with). Attention is devoted to anatomical knowledge and injury prevention, lifestyle healthy nutrition / mental skills and smart training. The lessons focus on knowledge, insight and practical skills.
Physical fitness training

National and international research has shown, among other things, that fitness - in particular cardiovascular capacity or stamina - plays an important role in improving dance performance and preventing injuries. That is why physical fitness training has become a permanent part in the basic schedule of all dance courses.

Transition class
This special class is scheduled for students who by cause of an injury are following an adapted schedule. During this class you will dance technique. You will get exercises based on your individual capacity and (temporary) limitations. It is meant as support for the transition back into the regular dance class. Next to the support for dance students with injuries, this class is also open for all students ATD (with permission of the H&P team) as a preventive approach when having complaints or questions about posture and movement.

Advice and guideance

Physical profile
Before the start of the study, the physical profile of each new dance student is mapped by means of screening. The  aim  is  to  map the physical potential related to dance/ theater by means of screening, to identify individual strengths and weaknesses before the new study year starts. It is important for the students to learn how to work with this information in an optimal way during their education. This screening consists of: an extensive physical examination by one of the physiotherapists of the Health Team, a medical examination by the general practitioner and tests are taken on hypermobility, strength, aerobic capacity, functional ability and quality of exercise in collaboration with the departments Physiotherapy, Mensendieck remedial therapy and Nutrition of the Amsterdam School of Health Professions.

Following on from the results of the overall physical profile, an appointment will be  made with one of the health team’s remedial therapists with whom the results will be discussed so the students can start working on their attention points.

Consultancy hours
The (free) consultancy hours give  students the opportunity to raise individual questions on physical and/or psychological complaints. Problems can then be identified at an early stage and if necessary guidance can be offered. In case of injury, a recovery programme will be composed. A student may seek help at own initiative or be referred by a study supervisor, mentor or teacher. The consultancy hours have an advisory and educational function. No treatment is given! There is a wide range of consultancy hours:

- Consultancy hour posture and movement
By a remedial therapist Mensendieck
- Consultancy hour injury prevention
By a manual-physiotherapist
- Consultancy hour nutrition
By a (sports)nutritionist
- Consultancy hour health and well-being
By the coordinator Health & Performance

If (para)medical treatment is necessary, the Health Team can give specific advice. The team is affiliated with a network of specialized healthcare professionals (for example, General practitioner, Sports doctor, Manual-, Physiotherapist, Exercise therapist Mensendieck, Orthopedic Surgeon, (sports) Dietitian, Psychologist, Neuro psychologist, Psychomotor Therapist, Osteopath). All treatments outside of  school  are  for  your own account. This mostly will not be  covered by your basic insurance if you don’t have an additional insurance. It is wise to be well insured, so check it carefully!

Scientific research

Growth measurements preliminary school
As a result of the outcome of the study on the growth of dance students (since 2001), it was decided to introduce measurements in a structural manner and to map this annually for all students of the National Ballet Academy pre-education. The purpose of the measurements is to inform the dance student and the dance teacher about the growth of the individual student. The structural measurement of aspects related to growth can lead to a number of recommendations for more individual attention, support and guidance for the dance student.

In May 2011, a research took place on hypermobility in which students from the dance programmes of the Academy of Theater and Dance took part. The research brought up interesting data about what hypermobility means for a dancer and how to deal with it. This research will be continued with the anonymous results of the measurements of the screening during the first weeks of the HBO dance departments.

A new screening programme has started in 2015, which includes the measurements from the research on hypermobility. The results of the screening give the Academy of Theater and Dance, in addition to educational purposes, a predictive insight into the manner of supervision, dropout rate and complaints development.

The library of the Academy of Theater and Dance contains an extensive collection of books and  magazines  about  (dance)  health. It also contains the results of the scientific studies that have taken place at the different departments of the ATD.

Want to know more?

Go to Myahk (only accessible for students, teachers and employees) for more information.