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Jan 12, 2022

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Nico Kolokythas, Founder of strengthmotionmind and Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Nico has an extensive two-decades-long background in elite sports, focusing predominately on judo, netball, basketball, football, taekwondo, and tennis. Nico eventually completed a PhD in injuries and the adolescent ballet dancer through the Elmhurst Ballet School in the UK. He now leads strengthmotionmind — a group focused on educating dancers and dance instructors on strength training and injury prevention.

Nico carries a unique perspective, having pivoted his research career from athletics to dance. Upon entering the arts, Nico was shocked by the lack of injury prevention research in dance — something that receives heavy investment in the sports world. Nico has since made curbing that trend his North Star. On the podcast, Nico discusses the work he’s doing to forward the conversation about injury prevention in dance and gives some practical advice on makimg that goal a reality.


Moving Quotes:

"In sports, injury prevention was at the top of the list. Whereas, in dance, it felt like it was injury management."

"There's not enough evidence that the common workouts used on top of dance training has any effect on injury prevention. We need to move the intensity of the training a little bit higher to have an injury prevention effect. Low intensity training will give minimal change to the body."

"We know physical strength training can actually improve confidence. So, in a way, when we educate young dancers, we are improving their self-confidence and self-esteem."

"I am constantly getting feedback on what works and what doesn't. Because thinking you know what works and thinking that you're not going to make mistakes is probably your biggest mistake."

"You have to know your audience. There's different language you will use in front of researchers, and there's different language you'll use in front of dance teachers or dancers themselves."

"If you're a dancer that wants to help dancers, you already have a foot in the door. Because you know the discipline. You know the industry."

"One of the things we should be thinking when talking about youth dance development is that we want to be active for life. Therefore, giving the right tools at an early age, we have more chances for them to actually be active for life."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

3:31: Nico describes his company — strengthmotionmind — and the work he’s doing in educating both dancers and dance practitioners.

6:23: Nico, who founded his process on the idea of feedback and iteration, discusses the importance of receiving feedback and acting on that feedback.

9:15: Kolokythas gives more information on his strength and conditioning classes.

11:53: Nico discusses the lack of injury prevention information in dance and the actions he’s taking to curb that trend.

19:13: Kolokythas, who has extensive experience in sports research, explains some lessons learned in athletics that he’s carrying over to dance.

22:34: Nico explains why he believes injuries are so prevalent in dance and how dancers and dance instructors can move from injury management to injury prevention.

31:31: Nico discusses how dancers and non-dancers can prepare their bodies for decades-long active lifestyles.

37:00: Kolokythas gives some advice to any dancers looking to enter the field of dance research.

39:18: Nico explains what’s next for him and how he’s planning to extend the reach of his valuable research.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Nico Kolokythas