There are many components to the Dancer Wellness Project (DWP) screen including strength, flexibility, structural assessment, fitness as well as technique. This technique screen has been developed to correlate with other screening components in an effort to promote injury prevention and enhance a dancer's technique. Many dancers, dance teachers, and medical professionals, find this technique component highly valuable in understanding how all of this data can be directly and individually applied.

A technique screen is not perfect and the technique component of the DWP is not offered as the definitive technique screen - additions are always welcomed. However, this information section is intended to help you understand some of the considerations involved and how best to implement the technique screen.

Technique Screening Goals

Dance is such a 'subjective' art form - each observer responds differently to individual dancers and their dancing. The goal of the technique screen is to collect the most 'objective' data about the dancer's execution of dance technique. These observations are the basis of a dancer's capacity and function at the time of the screen. The collection of unbiased technique data is the only way to help correlate that information with other screening data with the goals of providing the most factual responses to the dancers and to provide them with as many tools and resources to assist in their technical development as well as injury prevention.

Who should screen?

An individual who is considered masterful in dance technique and able to observe and 'comment' on the execution of dance technical maneuvers is generally qualified to conduct the technique screen. This individual would likely be a dance teacher and/or dancer. Ideally, this individual would NOT be their teacher, coach, or any other person who supervises the dancer. If the evaluator is the subject's teacher, then the subject may attempt to 'perform' in such a way as to meet the dancer's perception of the teacher's expectations and not necessarily what they would do in a 'normal' situation. A qualified evaluator that has no relation to the dancer would be able to provide the most 'objective' evaluation. (It can be helpful if the evaluator has some basic understanding of anatomical or kinesiological terminology.)

Screening vs. Private Class

It is critical to emphasize that the screen is NOT a private class; the evaluator must not provide corrections of any kind. They are there simply to ask the dancer to perform certain maneuvers/sequences and to record what they see. The evaluator must NOT perform the sequence for the dancer - this may negatively influence the objective results.

If the evaluator is the dancer/subject's teacher, this 'objectivity' may be quite difficult for some teachers. Teachers can begin to experiment with objective observations and comments in their technique classes prior to the screen as a means of developing this objectivity.


Because of the variances in some dance vocabulary, the DWP technique screen utilizes anatomical and kinesiological terms to minimize variability. Therefore, if an evaluator is unfamiliar with these terms, guidance should be sought on the technique screen prior to the screen. Many members of other affiliates are poised to assist.

Bilateral Assessments

Many dancers will ask Why is only one side screened? which is a perfectly valid question. However, this kind of question may stem from the fact that dancers may want to know the technique data for both their 'good side' and their 'bad side' (or less favored side).

The technique screen requires a great deal of observation and the collection of a lot of information which is then entered in to the DWP website. (Real-time data collection to the website is available and removes the need for a secondary data entry step.) If bilateral assessments were conducted during a technique screen (both sides evaluated), this would increase the amount of information collected substantially thus slowing the screening process considerably.

Choosing a side to screen

The technique screen is not meant to be a means for the dancers to show how good they are but rather to help identify where the problem spots might exist and how the other data collected during the screen can be used to help address those citations. Therefore determining which side to screen is important.

Many evaluators may ask the dancer prior to the technique screen to identify their preferred gesture leg. The evaluator may then wish to have the dancer make that their stance leg during the screen. On repeat screenings, the evaluator may elect to use the opposite leg from the initial screening.

It is important to notate and record in the DWP website which is the stance leg. This will ensure that the data is processed correctly.


As with all aspects of the DWP screen, observations made during the technique screen should NOT be construed as 'failures' but instead as identified areas where a dancer can improve. Also, it is important to realize that there may be underlying physical conditions that may impact a dancer's ability or performance. The underlying goal of the technique screen is to collect as 'objective' an evaluation of a dancer's technique and correlate these data with other screening data so as to provide as many fact-based responses to the dancers to help them improve and hopefully prevent injuries.