Do many dancers sustain injuries? “In a week, at least ten dancers consult me for injuries. Odissi dancers sustain more of them than Bharatanatyam dancers because of the nature of the form,” says the doctor, who has been a consultant for Nrityagram, Bangalore, for the past ten years. “I have worked out a system for the dancers using Kalaraipayattu, yoga….
Doc says “it is important for dancers to train regularly irrespective of whether one has a performance scheduled and how de-training affects the body. Young people may be able to recover soon, but this is not the case for those above 30. They need more exercise because the metabolic rate of their body is dropping. It is necessary to have not only a warm up but a ‘warm down’ as well “
The vulnerable areas for Bharatanatyam dancers are usually the knee and the foot
The doctor believes in a holistic approach, integrating sports medicine, yoga, martial arts, physiotherapy, pranic healing and acupuncture for fitness and sports rehabilitation, management of ailments such as disc prolapse and obesity as well as degenerative conditions such as osteo-arthritis and spondylitis.
Injury prevention workshop deals with dance-specific warm ups and warm downs, the importance of cardio-respiratory fitness, strength training, the use of core strength, and few sessions focusing on the use of Kalaripayattu, Bagua and Chi Kung exercise techniques to prevent injuries.
“The first, a martial art form involves walking around in a circle creating a bagua, an eight-sided symbol, which opens up bio-meridians all around the body. It creates torque forces that assist in the process of building up ample strength in the lower limbs and the spine. Chi Kung is the Chinese breathing technique introduced by Bodhi Dharma, the Buddhist monk from Kanchipuram into the Shaolin Temple in China in 527 AD, and it helps in rejuvenation,” says Dr. Pugazhendi
Views of experts and performers
Guru Narasimhachari: The workshop helps dancers become more proficient. I congratulate Sparrc team for coming up with this idea. It will benefit all of us in not just performing but also in teaching, as well as in helping those who have sustained injuries.
Dancer Bragha Bessel: Workshops like these give us the confidence to overcome our aches and pains by teaching us how to deal with them. All dancers must learn these methods to keep themselves fit.
Dancer Indira Kadambi: Prevention is better than cure. The doctor has understood the use of every muscle. A one-to-one session will be very beneficial. I had problems owing to injury and was able to conquer them though his guidance.
K. Mohanan, dance lecturer, Kalakshetra: It was heartening that the doctor said there is no age bar to performing the exercises. I will incorporate what I have learnt here into my teaching and make my students perform more bending and stretching exercises.
Kalarani, visiting Professor of Dance, Madras University: This is a good workshop; we should have had one like this long ago. Dance kinetics is a subject included in the syllabus of Madras University. But classes are not being held on the subject, it should be done. In India, the subject is not given attention, whereas in some universities in the U.S. students have to appear for exams on it.
Preethi Athreya, classical and modern dancer: As a dancer you are twisting your body into positions not natural to it and you tend to ignore its protest. He uses therapy from various disciplines to treat you and has a good team to assist him.
Odissi dancer Vani Madhav says,” We call Dr kannan Pugazhendi as doctor of dance! He has helped the Nrityagram girls with bad backs and aches recover and gain strength and use correct stances and one sees the change in Surupa Sen and Bijayini’s postures now, having benefited from him, over a sustained period, these dancers used to go Chennai just to take treatment and training under him”
Check out our Events section for upcoming Workshop on Dance medicine & Injury prevention