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Harlequin Floors contributes £30,000 to National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science

Tuesday 6th December 2011

Star dancers, a former manager of the England football team, a leading choreographer and specialists in dance medicine lined up at a Dance UK organised event to support a call for funding towards the creation of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science. A call answered with a big £30,000 contribution from leading dance floor manufacturer, Harlequin Floors.

Speaking to an invited audience at the Royal Society of Medicine, Graham Taylor outlined the parallels between injuries sustained by elite athletes, in particular professional footballers and professional dancers and contrasted the huge disparity between the two in terms of comprehensive medical facilities, support and guidance. When Graham Taylor’s playing career was cut short by injury, football at that time was in a similar situation to dance today. "I was shocked to discover the lack of health facilities to look after dancers, " said Graham. "What Dance UK and their partners are trying to achieve in setting up a National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science will make a huge difference. " Welcoming the Harlequin Floors contribution he expressed the wish that other companies would follow Harlequin’s lead.

Dr Emma Redding (dancer and Head of Dance Science, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) then led a discussion between acclaimed Rambert Dance Company dancer, Angela Towler, Kate Prince, Artistic Director of ZooNation, and Camilla Dallerup, TV presenter and 2008 Strictly Come Dancing champion, who talked about their experience of injury and how they were affected physically and psychologically.

Presenting the Harlequin Floors cheque for £30,000 to Helen Laws of Dance UK, Group Marketing Manager Mark Rasmussen said: "We all appreciate the level of skill and athleticism required to dance at the top level and we’ve heard tonight from people at this top level how injuries can potentially ruin a career. For 33 years, our company has worked with these top dancers all over the world, to develop floors which enable them to express their art whilst doing much to protect them against spinal, ankle or leg injuries associated with dancing on solid unyielding surfaces. Whilst the installation of a proper dance floor is now increasingly recognised as a prerequisite by the dance community, this alone cannot of course guarantee the elimination of dance injuries and that’s where the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science will come in. We wholeheartedly support their vision for “all top level dancers to have access to high quality, comprehensive, dance specific healthcare and dance science support services on a par with those enjoyed by athletes and the dancers in the very largest ballet companies".

Mark continued: "Woven into the DNA of Harlequin, straight from our founder and chairman Bob Dagger, and continued by his son Guy, is our commitment to playing our part to give back to the dance community. We, uniquely among our competitors, continue to support research into dance injuries, provide scholarships in North America, sponsor events ranging from the Prix de Lausanne to Move It and continue, year on year, as a major supporter of IADMS. So, when asked to support this initiative, it was obvious that this was a logical extension of that ongoing commitment we have to provide funding wherever possible. It gives me great please to announce that Harlequin Floors is committing £30,000 to Dance UK to support this campaign. It is our sincere hope that, at a time when funding has been reduced and there are calls from government for private philanthropy, that this serious commitment will send a strong signal to both the private sector AND to those who make decisions on where government grants are made, of the importance of this work."

Caroline Miller of Dance UK praising the Harlequin philanthropy said: "The £30,000 generous donation from Harlequin Floors is another major step towards the creation of the UK’s first National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science and follows an £80,000 pledge from Jerwood Charitable Foundation two years ago. The vision for the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science is that all top level dancers will have access to the high quality, comprehensive, dance specific healthcare and dance science support services they need, on a par with those enjoyed by elite athletes and dancers in the largest ballet companies. It is envisaged that this could be achieved through shared expertise and a network of multidisciplinary hub-sites which will collectively form a National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science. This major initiative has been created by an innovative partnership of Dance UK, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, University of Wolverhampton, University of Birmingham, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Birmingham Royal Ballet, with advice from the Olympic Medical Institute."

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