PAMA Notes - September 5, 2014

Date Changed for Health and Safety in the Arts Program - Cuba

The new date for the next PAMA trip to Havana, Cuba is January 24 - 31, 2016.  More information will be announced as it becomes available.

Call for Abstracts!

Countdown to Curtain: Maximizing Artistry and Injury Prevention Onstage and Behind the Scenes

The deadline to submit an abstract for the 2015 PAMA symposium is approaching quickly! All abstracts must be submitted by November 1, 2014.

PAMA is accepting abstracts for the 33rd annual PAMA Symposium on Medical Problems of Performing Artists, and particularly encourage the submission of research-based abstracts.  Proposals for workshops and educational abstracts are also welcome.

All professionals and students are invited to submit an abstract. Submissions are not restricted to PAMA members. You will be notified of acceptance by January 31, 2015. Questions may be directed to: Dorry Allen at

The guidelines for abstract submissions has changed!  You may review the new guidelines and download templates/samples by clicking this link.

Third Annual Temporada Espacio Abierto

The Third Annual Temporada Espacio Abierto was held July 13-20, 2014 in Matanza, Cuba. The conference brought together four companies: Danza Libre and Danza Fragmentada from Guatanamo, Danza Corpus from Matanzas and The Quimera Project from Canada. Almost 100 dancers participated including students from the Mantanzas Residential School for the Arts, and dancers from the individual companies.  Canadian participants were offered an opportunity to explore Afro-Cuban dance and to experience an immersion in the Spanish/Cuban heritage. Dance is an international language and both Cuban and Canadian dancers were soon comfortable with the repertoire  of the four Cuban choreographers, Marveyis Martinez, Esteben Aguilar, Yaneisi Chibás, José Angel Carret, and one Canadian choreographer Malgorzata Nowacka with her assistant Cheryl Chan.

The conference was held at the arts school where  students and professionals alike started the day with ballet, contemporary and folkloric classes followed by specialized training in Afro-Cuban dance. Yaneisi Chibás explained that the these dances were based on the French Tumba, one of the oldest  and most important music dancing expressions in the Cuban Culture. It  has influenced direct or indirectly on other art forms and appears more recently in congas and comparsas. Cuban contemporary classes are accompanied by  the rhythms of the Cuban band who play African drums and use cow bells; percussion instruments familiar throughout the Caribbean.

Lunch included rice and black beans, meat and fresh tropical fruit that delighted the Canadians. Rehearsals for the evening showcases take place in the afternoon. Each night Monday through Thursday there was a different showcase of works of the different choreographers as well as an opportunity for some of the dancers to present their own choreography. Each company brought to the conference some of their best repertoire. The directors chose dancers from other companies to learn their work and perform with the company, often the same night. This was an amazing feat to watch how quickly the Cuban dancers could learn new choreography. The showcases were held at  different venues or theatres each night, one night at an art museum, one a movie theatre and one night at a music hall with a magnificent tiled courtyard and fountain complete with goldfish.

Canadian Dancers stayed in pensions scattered throughout Matanzas city which is really a port on a large bay, lovely in the day but beautiful at night when illuminated around the shore. Matanzas is called the Venice of Cuba because of its many waterways and marble bridges. It is about 20 miles to Varadero, the largest resort in the Caribbean, but the dancers at the conference are much too busy to enjoy the beach until after the main showcase on Saturday.

The Cuban dance community is well aware of the benefits of preparing for performance psychologically as well as physically. As a psychiatrist who has worked with dancers for over 30  years, I was invited to give an evening lecture and afternoon workshop for all the dancers on the integration of these skills into their practice. Canadian health professionals may be surprised by the conditions which the Cuban dancers take as normal. They are courageous. They rehearse and perform on almost any surface; tile and concrete sometimes with substantial holes and risk splinters from deteriorating wooden floors. There is no physiotherapy on site; however when a young man injured his arm, he was quickly driven to a medical clinic and was treated immediately, no waiting.

The Canadian dancers I spoke with were enthusiastic about the opportunity to experience authentic Afro-Cuban technique and particularly about the opportunity to dance with the Cuban companies from Guantanamo;  these companies  maintained a rich heritage. They were pleasantly exhausted from their immersion in the culture and from the hot, humid, summer weather.

Dancers who are interested in this experience may contact Danza Corpus to find out details. Dancers who plan to go should begin conditioning well in advance and be prepared to dance six hours a day and be prepared for a unique cultural experience, the real Cuba that tourists seldom see. Health professionals are also welcome as observers of the process and to attend all the performances. For details and costs contact Danza Corpus at


The First Piano Pedagogy Symposium: Free to Play

October 17-18, 2014

Presented by University of South Florida School of Music in collaboration with the Performing Arts Medicine Association and The Music Gallery

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Health and Safety in the Arts Program

With its strong arts traditions and focus on healthcare, Cuba offers special insights into health issues in the arts.

January 24 - 31, 2016

Havana, Cuba

Information will be available on as it becomes available

Tuning the Athlete and Performing Artist for Optimal Health and Performance

March 7-8, 2015

Royal Conservatory of Music

Toronto, Ontario Canada

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