Physie is an Australian dance sport that combines elements of jazz, contemporary, ballet, lyrical, pilates and calisthenics. Traditionally a sport for women only, Physie is now open to participants of all genders. Participants will typically compete in individual and team competitions. Participation in Physie can commence as young as 3 years of age and can continue for your entire life, with participants over 70 years of age still competing in the Masters division.
Our very own Physio Gen has a special interest in treating Physie dancers. Gen’s special interests stem from her experience as an elite rhythmic gymnast, ballet dancer and participation in Physie. Gen’s involvement in Physie spans over 30 years, having started the sport at the age of 1! She has competed in both the Australian Physie and Dance Association (APDA) and the Bjelke Petersen School of Physical Culture (BJP). Across both associations, Gen has achieved a total of 15 national age titles and 6 overall Grand Champion titles, a record not many in the sport can boast! She still competes in the Open Elite section at APDA and won the 2023 National Finals!
Competitors typically learn 4 to 6 choreographed routines throughout the year, each with its own specific skill set. Many of the skills required in Physie originate from classical ballet, gymnastics and pilates. There is a focus on strength, mobility, musicality, technique, and performance. A successful participant in Physie typically has excellent posture, core strength, balance, flexibility, and upper and lower body strength.
Like any other dancer, a Physie dancer will challenge their physical abilities to perform the skills required in their routines. As both a teacher and judge, the most common errors Gen sees are:
- unsafe stretching practices and uncontrolled hypermobility;
- performance of skills that dancers are not yet strong enough to do;
- poor technique and compensations particularly in more advanced skills such as penche balances, leg extensions, leaps and jumps;
- poor core strength and lumbopelvic control.
These training and performance errors can lead to both overuse and acute injuries. Common injuries include:
- cervical and lumbar spine pain, such as discogenic pain;
- Achilles tendinopathy, posterior ankle impingement and plantar fasciopathy;
- hip pain, such as impingement, labral tears and gluteus medius tendinopathy;
- acute muscle strains, particularly the hamstrings;
- acute ligament sprains, particularly ankle sprains.
How we can help:
Many of the common injuries seen can be avoided with regular, comprehensive assessments and a targeted training program. When injuries do occur, a personalised and carefully tailored rehab program can facilitate faster return to class and competition and correct the factors that may have contributed to the injury.
Gen’s approach to managing Physie dancers includes:
- Management of current injuries to ensure minimal time away from classes and competitions;
- Physical screening to provide insight into how a dancer can improve and modify their training;
- Syllabus and skills analysis;
- Advice regarding safe syllabus performance;
- Strength training, Pilates, flexibility training and technique development tailored to the dancer’s ability, age/section and syllabus;
- Targeted strength and Pilates training for older participants to help manage the effects of ageing and ensure longevity in their Physie participation.