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Tanya is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance (ARAD) and is dedicated to improve and promote dancer health and well-being. She completed her MSc (Med) Biokinetics degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2012. As part of the degree requirements, she decided to write her thesis on the “Anthropometric measurements of female adolescent ballet dancers”.

More recently the art of ballet developed from a recreational entertainment into a professional sport. As a result, more emphasis is placed on skill and technique, as these factors have been said to determine the quality of classical ballet performance. It is also evident that a specific body type is required in order to excel as a ballerina, thus emphasising the “sylph-like” body required to meet the aesthetic standards of classical ballet. Therefore dancers dramatically increase the number of hours they train and restrict caloric intake in order to achieve a very low body weight, thus conforming to the aesthetic demands of the sport. Dancers suddenly became an at risk group of athletes in terms of developing eating disorders, secondary amenorrhea and low bone mineral density.



As a result, Tanya realised that the scientific investigation into the body composition of female classical ballet dancers as well as the routine health and wellness screening in this group of athletes, were of utmost importance. She also realised there was no centre in South Africa where dancers could have routine screening tests or assessments. She established a Dance Wellness Program at the Movement Science Institute to routinely conduct health and wellness screenings on dancers. Dancers’ medical data could then be used to identify risk factors that may predispose them to future injuries.

To read more about the services offered to dancers at the Movement Science Institute, visit