Professor, students present at International Association for Dance Medicine and Science Conference

Professor of Dance Lauren Kearns and three undergraduate students presented their research and attended the national conference in Houston, Texas.

During Fall Break, Professor Lauren Kearns and three students conducting undergraduate research attended the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) 27 Annual Conference in Houston, Texas.

This four-day long conference is intended for healthcare providers, educators, administrators and supervisors of dancers. Attendees of the conference ranged from physical therapists to psychologists to dancers themselves. The goal of this gathering of professionals was to advance research about problems for dancers, develop preventative techniques, and identify resources for dancers in the dance science community.

Cassandra Tumasz '18, a dance performance and choreography and dance science double major, attended the conference with Kearns. “From the movement sessions, lecture demonstrations, and poster presentations, I realized how expansive dance science is," Tumasz said. "As a performer, I learned how to safely improve my technique based on anatomical principles. From a teaching perspective, I learned how word choice could affect students' psychological well-being.”

In addition to the opportunity to learn from the professionals at the IADMS conference, Tumasz presented her Lumen Prize dance research about the effects of imagery on a dancer's performance, both physically and mentally. Tumasz noted that at the conference, she had great conversations about her research presentation and how she can further investigate her topic.

Students Taylor Cassidy '19, also a dance performance and choreography and dance science double major, and Corinne Kenny '18, a dance science and exercise science double major, were the other two students who attended the conference.

“Attending the IADMS conference helped with my research particularly because many people in the field are trying to figure out how to combine science and dance in various ways, and going exposed me to all of those different ways,” said Cassidy, who is conducting undergraduate research through the Elon College Fellows Program. 

Kenny is exploring the opportunity of attending graduate school following her last semester here at Elon, and she noted that, “IADMS was a fantastic career development experience as it opened my eyes to how many graduate programs are available for those interested in dance science.”

All three students expressed their admiration for the professionals they met at IADMS and hope that Elon students will continue to attend this eye-opening and intellectually challenging conference in the future.

Kearns had the honor of teaching a movement workshop, “Somatics in Action: Floor Barre” based upon her just released textbook, “Somatics in Action: a Mindful and Physical Conditioning Tool for Movers.” This textbook explores how to achieve optimal strength, skeletal alignment and body-mind engagement through the practice of Somatics in Action, a technique developed by Kearns.

This movement practice that she created includes principals of Pilates, yoga and dance-inspired movements to find strength, support and balance within the anatomical structure. The book includes lesson plans, specific movement sequences and student assignments for university dance and movement educators to utilize in their courses. At the IADMS conference, Kearns led the participants through a Somatics in Action six-part floor barre.

Between the movement workshop led by Kearns, the presentation of Tumasz’s Lumen Prize dance research, and the active participation of students Taylor Cassidy and Corinne Kenney, IADMS offered an incredible learning opportunity as well as an opportunity for the Elon dance science community to showcase its contributions to the field today.

Kearns and these students hope this conference continues to be a place for the Elon dance science program to highlight their research and learn from the most advanced professionals in the field.