Allen N, Kelly S, Lanfear M, et al. Relative energy deficiency in dance (RED-D): a consensus method approach to REDs in dance.

The full article can be found here.


Tell us more about yourself and the author team. 

Dr Nick Allen is the lead author of this highly experienced research team. Like many of his co-authors, he has experience working in professional and Olympic sports and the performing arts. He has been the Clinical Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet for 19 years and is a founding partner of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (UK). Shane Kelly, Andy Reynalds, and Martin Lanfear represented the Clinical Directors of the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Scottish Ballet, respectively, with Richard Clark as the clinical lead for the Royal Ballet. They combine significant experience in dance with their backgrounds in elite sports. Prof Matt Wyon is a past president of the International Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, a founding partner of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science and has published extensively in dance science. As an SEM Consultant, Prof Roger Wolman has a wealth of experience in sport and dance and is a founding partner of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science. He undertook his MD in Female Athlete Triad and headed up the UK’s first NHS Dance Medicine Clinic. Prof Margot Mountjoy is world renowned in the field of REDs and led the IOC Medical Commission on REDs, we were honored to benefit from her expertise with this paper.  

What is the story behind your study?

If there is any good to come out of COVID, perhaps this is one of those things. As a group, we started working together to help the UK dance sector navigate the challenges of COVID-19. As we emerged from the significant restrictions of COVID-19, we started exploring other areas that affected dancers. REDs/RED-D was one area identified. Thanks to the collective experience of the steering group and its association with the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, we were able to call upon exceptional contributors for the author team and expert panel that resulted in the strength of the recommendations this paper was able to produce.  

In your own words, what did you find? 

We know that REDs can be a challenging condition to deal with athletes. Appreciating the specificity of dance, we identified key areas that need to be considered, including the culture and environment that dancers and artistic staff must deal with. Importantly, we produced simple but robust frameworks to help support dancers with RED-D. 

What was the main challenge you faced in your study? 

Like some sporting environments, dance can still work with limited resources. Our challenge was to provide a framework for diagnosis and management that could be delivered within the NHS to ensure that freelance dancers and those supported by in-house medical teams would have the correct support and guidance- we were pleased we could do this.  

If there is one take home message from your study, what would that be?

While more work is needed in a dance around the prevalence of RED-D, I would encourage clinicians to have it on their radar when working with dancers. The more we can bring this into conversations with dancers, the more aware dancers will become of the impact of RED-D.  

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