Aspiring dancers risk injury copying advanced moves and participating in viral challenges on TikTok, major dance organizations have warned.
The Royal Academy of Dance says young people should be careful when trying to recreate moves from professional dancers or taking part in social media challenges.
In an interview with The Stageartistic director, Gerard Charles, says that while the platform can be a “great inspiration” for amateur dancers, supervision by a qualified teacher is essential to avoid injury.
“Watching dance on TikTok can be a great source of inspiration, but without an experienced and qualified teacher who understands physical development and age-appropriate movements, it’s all too easy to copy what you see on the social media to lead to injury,” he said.
Louise Molton, director of education at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, encouraged aspiring dancers to consider formal training.
“Repeating routines without focused feedback does not support technical and artistic development and can lead to injury and poor practice,” she said.
“Learning without a teacher, who can provide corrections in the early stages of any physical activity, could be dangerous and lead to permanent injury or damage later in life.”
Last week, American actress Kyra Sedgwick was photographed with an ice pack on her wrist after attempting the “Footloose Drop”, a current trend in TikTok dancing.
Her husband, Kevin Bacon, who starred in the film, shared the photo of Sedgwick, 56, on Instagram, with the caption: “The consequences of nailing a TikTok dance #Footloose,” after the couple successfully completed the move.
In 2020, a series of TikTok users were reportedly hurt after attempting a complicated series of moves to “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion during the first Covid lockdown.
According to the New York Post, at least one aspiring dancer has been taken to hospital after copying the viral dance, which includes lunges, twerks and a jump kick.
TikTok, however, has also been praised for its inclusiveness and for encouraging young people to discover new interests.
Danielle Drayton, creative director of Blue Fish Entertainments, said breaking down moves into short tutorials can be more engaging for social media users than a formal lesson.
“With inspiring companies like the Rockettes or the cast of Dance Moms breaking down a dance move into 15-30 seconds, dancing can sometimes feel less tedious online than in a classroom,” she said.
TikTok advises anyone starting a new fitness program or exercise routine to seek advice or guidance from a qualified professional.