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Doug Joyce, Principal Practitioner at BodyWise was the Physiotherapist for the West Australian Ballet for 5 years and for many touring musicals including Cats and Riverdance. BodyWise opened the first Pilates studio in Perth in 1991 primarily for the WA ballet and dancers.

Most dancers are hypermobile and whilst this is a most advantageous attribute, it can be a leading reason for the development of injuries.

The most common injury comes from excessive hypermobility that rises from the arabesque position, or the back bend, where the spine is extended in the very low back. A tendency toward hypermobility, plus excessive and repetitive local movement, at a particular joint, results in the development of injuries.

This can be avoided by stretching. The movement most commonly lost by students is the hip extension. Stretches that take the pressure off the lower lumber area will result in more stretch going into the front hip structures and a beautiful arabesque results. An even back bend that looks unstressed and easy occurs because these deep, strong anterior hip ligaments and deep groin muscles have been lengthened.

These stretches are tricky to learn but well worth the time and effort.