Wednesday, November 3, 2010

International Dance Medicine Conference with Birmingham Royal Ballet UK

Merry Lynn Morris at IADMS Conference held in the Hippodrome Home of Birmingham Royal Ballet

Evaluation of an Assistive Mobility Device for Dance

I have been away for awhile to attend the annual IADMS Dance Medicine Conference in Birmingham, UK.  This year I presented our Dance Chair Project with a colleague in Physical Medicine.  I exhibited an "Evaluation of an Assistive Mobility Device for Dance Training & Performance". (See picture with the poster.)  It included comparative metabolic / respiration studies which my colleague had prepared. We stayed at the beautiful contemporary Radisson Blu Hotel - where everyone was so very professional and lovely. Birmingham, England has an incredible variety of international foods which were really fine and great tasting water! 

Trying to Call Home - and trying and trying!
This was certainly a learning journey from many perspectives.  There was supposed to be video of some of this.  None of the video cameras worked and that is a really long story which I still do not understand.  None of the phones worked either.  Though we came prepared with UK Sim cards in advance....  then when they did not work in our unlocked international Nokia phones (prepared months before) ... we tried to buy new Sim cards.  They did not work.  We had spent so much time in preparing for this it seemed endless. To finally be in England and never find one person who could assist or offer any explanation why nothing worked - obviously I have a lot of research ahead of me.  Finally, we simply had to move on as the conference had a very tight schedule.  Family, associates, etc. in the US would have to wait for our calls from the Hotel - at about $5 / minute!  I would like to say that the next time I will be better prepared - but, that would assume I know how it all works!  It is still a funny mystery which I probably will ponder for a long time.  We just had to laugh it all off and that is what the "phone booth" picture is all about.  And, by the way - THAT phone did not work either!!  So, we had to take a picture of HOW TO NOT CALL ANYONE FROM THE UK!!

The Illusive Phone System in Birmingham, England

The View from my lovely Radisson Blu Hotel in Birmingham UK

The conference itself was incredible. The association has many professionals from diverse backgrounds all  interacting in common interests and goals, that it makes me anxious already for next year.  The time just went too fast.  Fortunately, the UK set their clocks back one hour - so I did get one extra hour!

I am preparing a Screening Program for dancers.  It was amazing to find myself sitting on the long flight over between my colleague in Physical Medicine and a P.T. member of IADMS who is working on this very idea.  Needing comparative programs for dance specific is critical in developing a true wellness and injury prevention assessment.  I am so grateful for the blessing of sitting next to her on the plane and having the time to share our research and ideas.

I learned so many things it will take a while to process, but it was very stimulating.  Immediately, I have been able to apply quickly one technique I learned and have already shown it to my Research in Dance Class this morning.  It was a very practical method for finding and understanding the illusive psoas muscle.  It is a unique muscle in that it is the only one which extends from the back to the leg with dual action control - both a "marching" pose (attitude) and an arabesque.  It is so deeply embedded from the thoracic vertebrae 12 - lumbar to attach into the femur that one cannot always figure out its placement and action.  Isolating this muscle and feeling the action is critical to a dancer. I am appreciative to find associates at IADMS sharing the information and allowing us to apply it for future dancers.

Picture from Website of Birmingham Royal Ballet
My Picture of the Hippodrome at Night
The Birmingham Royal Ballet performed brilliantly and gave a private performance for us with a triple dance including Sonia Sabri & Co. & Rosie Kay Co.  The Royal Ballet had two works of  duets on pointe.  The first was very classical ballet - precise, articulate yet it was a sweet, calming piece with sunset motif.  The second piece was a contemporary ballet with fast, flying action between the partners on black pointe.  It was called "Paper Jam" and reflected symbolically, with its ratchet music and dark theme, the idea of being stuck - yet trying to get free. This also reminded me of the idea of disability and being stuck in our own bodies trying to break out.  The "office" motif of a tie and her in a skirt - further accomplished  a camaraderie of spirits in the work place of which we can all relate.
A beautiful architectural view of the old & the new (my Hotel - Radisson Blu) from Conference window at Birmingham Ballet -Birmingham, UK

The last weekend night of the conference was a grand event for us to dance ourselves.  This is always wonderful to be among professional dancers and dance health associates who are all a part of who we are.  We clapped and stepped to a professional Highlander dancer. Amazing.  Then we all danced in English dances which to me were simply colloquial forms of the Minuet, the Virginia Reel and absolutely Square Dancing - all of this to a wonderfully diverse live band.  Having taught International Folk Dancing, I was really getting to enjoy actually doing this in the country it had its origins!  I am so thankful for such an enriching evening.  I know I was meant to see also and understand the difficulties one would have living there with disability.  As I am constantly on alert for disability awareness, I am hoping technology and disability issues will happen more quickly and that our project can contribute to this from Birmingham UK to New York City - both needing better accessibility.   And, hoping for future IADMS conferences access, also.

Merry Lynn Morris Dancing in Birmingham England IADMS Conference (Parliament Building)

Ye Olde Town Clock - Turning Back One Hour !
Speaking of  camaraderie  - it is really true that the Brits say everywhere .... "Jolly Good!"  And, so it was - as Birmingham, England, being the birth place of the Industrial Revolution - became the perfect place for the International debut of our Dance Chair Project - a blending of the old and the new.  With all the phone issues, photo issues, colloquial folk dance, architecture, the time change, etc... - and then the speech patterns which were adorable ---- I did begin to wonder?  Not, "Where am I?" - But, "What time period is this?"  It certainly seemed as though I stepped or danced back into time to Merry Olde England- my roots from William Penn my Great,Great,etc.Grandfather! May God Bless us All!

Merry Lynn Morris