[Marney Simon - firstname.lastname@example.org]
That's how Lisa Howell (above) describes the importance of proper technique when it comes to dance.
Howell is a physiotherapist. Born in New Zealand, she now uses Sydney, Australia as her home base, but travels the world giving workshops on techniques to keep dancers' bodies protected from injury. She spent this week at Forte Arts Center in Morris.
Howell teaches from a different perspective than other instructors might — that dancers are athletes.
"I work with dancers, 90% of my clientele is dancers," Howell said. "Over the last 18 years, I've noticed so many issues that could have been prevented had dance teachers been educated or been given more information."
For the past 15 years, Howell has traveled the world giving lectures and hands-on clinics, with an emphasis over the past four years on teacher training. Howell has brought her instruction on techniques to dance instructors in Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Canada.
She's currently on a tour of the U.S., visiting dance studios in Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York and California.
"I come and do a really intensive three-day workshop with dance teachers, to teach them everything I wish they'd been taught to help keep the children safe, the dancers safe, rather than waiting for an injury to happen," Howell said.
"All the things that they can catch before they become issues, or if they are having issues that aren't necessarily being dealt with well by the health professionals that they are going to see. A lot of professionals have not been exposed to treating any dancers, and dancers... need to be dealt with in a very specific way."
Howell said some people may make the mistake of thinking that dancing is easier on the body than other sports.
"It's actually very intense training. And if they have a small error, it can magnify into a big issue with even a tiny discrepancy from how it should look," she said. "So, we're training the teachers to be really critical and really observant of how they're watching specific elements of technique. I believe it can reduce about 80 to 90% of preventable injuries."