by Catherine L. Tully
Each type of conference has it’s own unique atmosphere, and each has it’s own sense of purpose and direction. The Performing Arts Medicine Association‘s 2017 Symposium is no exception, and since this was our first time attending, we’d like to give an overall picture of what this gathering is like, and who typically attends. This way, if you aren’t already familiar with the organization, you’ll get a better picture of what they are all about.
Let’s begin with a basic overview of the organization, and it’s mission statement.
What Is PAMA?
Founded in 1989, the Performing Arts Medicine Association, also known as PAMA, is an organization made up of educators, artists, medical professionals, and administrators that share a common goal – improving the healthcare of the performing artist. Unlike the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), PAMA is not just dedicated to the art of dance, but rather includes all performing artists – such as musicians, dancers, and actors.
Originally founded as an organization for medical professionals, membership expanded over the years to include others who were becoming more and more interested in the health and well-being of this sector of the arts. Approximately 20% of the organization is currently from outside of the US. PAMA holds a yearly symposium as a gathering place for members and others that serves to share information about the field, provide networking opportunities, and more.
PAMA’s mission is stated as follows:
The Performing Arts Medicine Association is committed to:
- Promoting the highest quality of care to all performing artists and bringing to that care an appreciation of the special needs of performing artists.
- Developing educational programs designed to enhance the understanding and prevention of medical problems related to the performing arts.
- Promoting communication among all those involved in the health care and well being of performing artists.
- Fostering research into the etiology, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of medical problems of performing artists.
This year the symposium took place in Snowmass – a lovely setting up in the mountains of Colorado. The Westin provided a home base for the event, as well as space for the sessions that took place throughout. For those interested in dance/dancers, there were a number of different presentations to choose from.
Here are some examples:
- Investigation of the Cardiovascular Endurance of Dance Majors
- Risk for Hearing Loss due to Noise Exposure in Competition Dancers
- The First Step: Creating a Dancer Wellness Program That Will Engage and Empower
- Gaze Behaviour in Dance – the Relevance of Spotting in Pirouettes
- Injury Prevention and Optimal Performance Training in Dancers
This should give you an idea of the types of presentations there are for people who are invested in the care of dancers and their bodies. There were also poster presentations, and informal gatherings during the course of the symposium.
As with most conferences, the chance to network and make new associations during the span of the event is an important facet when it comes to attending. We connected with a wide range of people during our time there, including authors, medical practitioners, a clinical and performance psychologist, and people from all over the world with an interest in dancer health and wellness. There is no doubt that these people are passionate about the work they do, and it’s wonderful to have some space created for them to come together like this and share what they are working on, and what they have learned with one another.
It is our hope that with the growth of the dance wellness section of this site, we will be able to continue sharing information about conferences and symposiums such as PAMA (and others), and that our outreach will help create more pathways for dancers and dance teachers to connect with the important information and research that is taking place all over the world.
Those interested in attending the 36th Annual PAMA International Symposium can view more information about the gathering in Orange, CA here. It takes place from June 30th to July 3rd.
Learn more about PAMA membership levels and benefits on their website.
Disclosure: This author is the editor/owner of 4dancers. She attended the PAMA Symposium on a press pass granted by the organization, but no monetary compensation was received for her coverage of the event. All transportation, lodging, and meals were paid for by 4dancers.