Revving Up Research

Thursday March 30th 2023

Under the headship of Dr Nico Kolokythas, Head of Research and Performance at Elmhurst Ballet School, our new Research and Performance Department is the first in the world to support evidence-based practice in a vocational dance school setting.

In 2014, the school reflected on its strength and conditioning offer for students and identified there was a knowledge and research gap in the development of young dancers. This resulted in Elmhurst funding a PhD project in collaboration with University of Wolverhampton. A PhD student at the time, Nico Kolokythas masterminded the project, supervised by Professor Matt Wyon, Dr Shaun Galloway, Professor George Metsios, and Dr Nick Allen.

With thanks to the trailblazing research, an injury prevention intervention 11+Dance was developed and is now influencing dance practice at all levels, not only at Elmhurst, but across the world. Based on best practice and scientific evidence on injuries in dance, the intervention focuses on ankle, knee and hip stability, muscular endurance and jumping & landing control. Research evidence suggests that this combination of exercises has a preventative effect on injuries and in particular lower-body injuries.

As a result of the project’s success, dance research is now firmly embedded in the school’s curriculum and has allowed for further investigative and collaborative work between the science practitioners and the dance faculty.

2023 and Elmhurst’s new Research and Performance Department is continuing to support evidence-based practice, most importantly to improve the student and dancer experience. The school invites PhD and MSc students to work within the department and has created a mentoring scheme for young coaches and other practitioners to gain experience in a vocational environment. Dr Nico Kolokythas is currently collaborating with three universities in the UK and one in Switzerland and various other practitioners around the world.

We look forward to sharing more details with you soon. 

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