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- Veena Basavarajaiah, Bangalore

November 29, 2010

The study of anatomy is an integral part of dance training. What muscles do we use to do an araimandi, what bones are engaged when you do a pataaka hastha? What part of your knee is injured when your alignment is not correct?

Only a deep understanding of every note, scale and the ability to execute in the appropriate pitch can lead to musical harmony. Similarly a dancer, performer and more importantly a teacher needs training in the anatomy and body mechanics. It is important for every dancer and teacher to be able to listen to ones' own body and also to inculcate self awareness in students.

There are many dance related injuries caused due to wrong technique, lack of strength or improper alignment. For example many feet and ankle based injuries can be caused because of intense training, lack of flexibility, dancing on hard floor or due to dancing after a long break. The other reasons that could also include having naturally flat feet or high arched feet, leg length discrepancy, fractures, arthritis, excess weight from pregnancy, obesity etc.

For example:
Sprains are generally caused due to loss of balance or improper landing from a jump due to over exertion, loss of balance or lapse in concentration. The weight falls on a body part that is not designed to bear weight resulting in inability to walk, bear weight or contusion. The dancer should be intelligent enough to tell herself to rest when it's a minor twist or seek medical help when the pain exceeds endurance levels.

Pain is your body's way of expressing the changes that it is subjected to. There is a level of pain experienced when one works on the strength, flexibility and stamina. This pain is endurable and an indication that the right muscles are being developed. An injury however is your body's way of telling that something is not right. Minor injuries are warning signs to dancers, signaling them to look at the loop holes in their training or simply demanding rest.

Veena Basavarajaiah is a Bangalore based solo dancer and choreographer who is trained in Bharatanatyam, Kalaripayattu, Ballet and Contemporary dance. She has worked with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, Angika Dance Company, Attakkalari, Kalari Academy, Gati Forum, Nritarutya, Natyantharanga & Yana Lewis Dance Co. She has performed on various platforms across India, UK and Europe. She is the recipient of Special Mention Young Achievers Award in 2007 and also a paneled artist of the Indian council for Cultural relations.