A façade of the Celia Franca Centre at NBS

Research Institute

NBS' Research Institute

NBS' newly established Research Institute is continuing the School's leadership in evidence-informed practice across all programs, and contributing to a growing body of research on the life-changing impacts of dance.


History: Building a Research Institute


For more than 30 years, research and evaluation has increasingly informed program development and health and well-being initiatives at NBS. For example, eating disorder prevention interventions for dancers have been developed and successfully implemented at NBS (Piran, 1999; Bar, Cassin, & Dionne, 2017). Similarly, the role of a Nurse Practitioner at NBS was recently established to align with best practices for the care of young athletes (Ziegler, Kim, Bar, 2021). Studies of NBS’ community dance program for people with Parkinson’s disease have found both short and long-term health benefits for this population (e.g., Bearss, McDonald, Bar, & DeSouza, 2017; Bearss & DeSouza, 2021), and research has also demonstrated how NBS’ community dance program for people living with dementia fosters social inclusion (Herron, Bar, Skinner, 2022; Kontos et al., 2020). NBS' Research Institute will build on this well-established history of knowledge creation and translation of promising dance practices.


In 2022, NBS received the designation of Research Institute from the Government of Canada. This designation will support our continued collaboration with dance researchers in the community and also allow NBS to take the lead on its research priorities.


Partnership with Trent University


NBS and Trent University have been partners in research since 2016. In support of NBS’ Research Institute, Trent University has generously provided NBS with access to their research policies and resources.

Dancers from a range of NBS' programs dance enthusiastically

The Research Institute's Mandate, Mission, & Purpose

Mandate: To be a national leader of excellence in dance research, innovation and commitment to rigour; informing promising practices in dance training excellence, the health and wellbeing of dancers, and our understanding of the universality of dance; strengthening dance in Canada and contributing to global conversations.


Mission: To inform, develop and promote promising practices for professional ballet training at NBS and the broader dance community; informing our understanding of how dance can contribute to the health and well-being of all Canadians.



  • To conduct and disseminate research and evidence-informed practices related to dance training excellence, health, and wellbeing

  • To conduct and disseminate research related to dance for health and wellbeing

  • To support NBS’ broader mission to enhance the lives of more Canadians through dance

  • To provide learning/training opportunities for students studying in the above or related areas

NBS Announced as Recipient of CIHR’s Institute of Aging’s Implementation Science Team Grant

We are excited to share that NBS is one of 10 projects and the only arts organization to receive funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Aging’s Implementation Science Team Grants, awarded to support researchers in assessing programs and services for people affected by cognitive impairment and dementia. The 10 projects are funded for a total investment of $7.48M. 


This landmark funding is the first grant awarded to NBS’ recently-established Research Institute, ​​continuing the School's leadership in evidence-informed practice and expanding research on the life-changing impacts of dance. Through this grant, co-principal researchers Dr. Rachel Bar and Dr. Pia Kontos will work with a community of collaborators to evaluate innovative dance programming for people living with dementia, exploring how movement to music can challenge the stigma associated with dementia, support social inclusion and enrich lives.


Advisory Committee


NBS’ Research Institute’s Advisory Committee is made up of NBS’ Director, Research and Health, a Trent University faculty member, and a Director of Research from another Canadian research institute. Current Advisory Committee members include:

  • Dr. Rachel Bar, Director, Research and Health, Canada’s National Ballet School

  • Dr. Mark Skinner, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Trent University

  • Patrice Aubertin, Centre for Circus Arts, Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer (CRITAC) Director

  • Jenna Rose-Freeman, Director, External Affairs, Canada’s National Ballet School



If you are a researcher or student interested in getting involved in NBS’ Research Institute, please email NBS’ Director, Research and Health at rbar@nbs-enb.ca



Research Policy

Click to view our research policy


Research Data Management Strategy


Click to view our research data management strategy