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Doctor Orders For Safe Dance Practice: Dr Lisa Ellis

Doctor Orders For Safe Dance Practice: Dr Lisa Ellis

Forget apples, safe dance practice will keep the doctor away!

Social media is arguably altering the perception of what is achievable in dance. Young dancers are copying movements from Instagram and performing them without regard to harm or hazard. According to a Melbourne based dance instructor and qualified doctor Lisa Ellis, dancers can still be as flexible as they possibly can be by following a safe dance procedure.

“With the exposure from popular dance television series such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dance Moms gaining in popularity and social media taking flight, Australian dancers were getting inspired by international talent and were screaming out for more technique,” Dr Lisa told Dance Writer.

By popular demand, Dr Lisa has created something very magical for dancers; a platform to provide a medically formulated dance program to help develop a sense of self-improvement in technique and mental outlook. This is known as Dance Prescription.

“The Dance Prescription program was born out of necessity,” said Dr Lisa. “I prescribe tailored home dance exercises for the dancers targeted to help them achieve their goals.”

Dr Lisa with one of her students. Taylor Ferne-Morris Photography.

She checks in on her dancers every fortnight to see if they have achieved their goals (be it a trick or a higher degree of flexibility).  When hard work pays off, the dancers reap the rewards. It is not a militaristic approach to dance, rather a highly motivating, inspiring program that compares a dancer to him or herself—not others.

“I have integrated multiple evidence-based goal setting practices with the dancers, which have been proven to increase not only individual success but motivation, mood, morale and overall well-being.”

“The practices I’ve implemented not only help the dancers to achieve the jazz techniques that they have always dreamed of achieving (whether that be their left leg splits or eight consecutive pirouettes) but they help me to keep track of the dancer’s progress too,” said Dr Lisa.

Dr Lisa teaching at one of her workshops. Photo by The Dance Project.

While there has been on ongoing hunger for dance technique as the younger generations become more advanced, so has injury prevention. Dance experts including Melbourne’s Paul Malek from Transit Dance have been leading the charge for injury prevention and safe dance awareness over the last few years as the level of technical demand has increased.

“I am passionate about injury prevention and with my knowledge background from my medical degree and access to the most up-to-date scientific evidence, I devised a structure to educate dancers on safe approaches to difficult steps,” said Dr Lisa.

“I knew I wanted to work with dancers one-on-one to tailor their home practice specifically to the needs and limitations of their body and so Dance Prescription fell into being!”

Dr Lisa had extensive dance training when she was younger and had a knack for teaching from an early age. She started dance at age seven with her twin sister, following in the footsteps of her mother and maternal grandmother who were also talented dancers.  She excelled in her education by attaining a scholarship to a private high school and was later awarded school captain. It was clear that Lisa was capable of becoming the likes of a lawyer or a doctor, but medicine felt more familiar (despite her excellent arguing skills according to one of her teachers).

“To be honest, I think I put Medicine down as a dare to myself. It was by far the hardest university course in Australia to get in to and I wanted to see if I could do it,” she said.

“By a couple of miraculous twists of fate which I’m sure you wouldn’t believe if I told you, I managed to swoop into my medical degree with flying colours.”

With her passion for learning and goal setting, it is a no-brainer as to why Dance Prescription is so successful among the grassroots dance community. Setting realistic goals, focusing purely on self-improvement and maintaining a healthy regime are all factors that Dr Lisa reiterates to her students.

To see more about the Dance Prescription program head to: http://www.lisaellisofficial.com/

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