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Dancers Get Injured! Rehabilitative Exercises for Dancers and Artistic Athletes
By: Nataliya Zlotnikov, MSc, HBSc

Introduction 

To quote the great American dancer and choreographer, Merce Cunningham:

"You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back,
no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums,
no poems to be printed and sold,
nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive."

If you are a dancer, or "were" a dancer (because once a dancer, always a dancer, it's like the mafia), that quote will hit home for you as it did for me.  

I was returning to dance after taking a few years off and found myself in the physiotherapist's office due to some knee pain. She jokingly said to me that her business is maintained by dancers, we tend to do stupid things - injure ourselves and just keep going due to the sheer love of it. If you are a dancer or artistic athlete, or if are a healthcare practitioner who treats them, you know that dancers and artistic athletes are a special breed.

If you provide physiotherapy for dancers and artistic athletes, you know that you cannot treat them, in the same way, you would treat the general population; the normal range of motion is different, the injuries are different, as are the physical strains and demands. 

 

Dancers Get Injured

Science shows us that all dancers will experience at least one significant injury per 1000 hours of dance. 

The body is the dancer’s tool. This tool requires care. 

Injuries remove dancers from the activity they love, the competitions they aim for, and the careers that pay their bills. Dance is the 8th most popular physical activity in the world and all world cultures have a history with it. 

Dancers make up a significant population who need health sciences to keep them steady on their toes.

If you would like to learn more about how to treat dancers, click below for some resources from Pivot Dancer on Embodia.

 

Learn more with Pivot Dancer

 

What Is Pivot Dancer?

Learn more about who is Pivot Dancer and what they do in this 1-minute video below:

What’s in the Resource Packages?

The above video mentioned 3 resource packages, what's included in them?

The Embodia platform provides an outstanding clinical tool for clinicians to communicate with, educate and deliver care to patients. 

We have selected over 90 of our most frequently used Pivot Dancer exercises for dancers, artistic athletes and hypermobile patients. Many of these exercises are applicable to non-dancers as well but for clinicians working with dancers, science shows that compliance with health care recommendations improves dramatically with the ability of the clinician to communicate in a dancer’s language. 

There are 3 packages within the dancer’s resource materials: rehabilitation for dancers, pre-pointe assessment/strengthening tools, and treatment for hypermobility. The exercises all include verbal cues and immediate feedback with a demonstration. The embedded education facilitates the integration of the dance resource package easily within your clinical practice.

They are available in both English and French. If you purchase multiple resource packages as a bundle, you will get a discount!

French version:

 

Learn More About Pivot Dancer

But who is Pivot Dancer? We are Dinah Hampson and Genevieve Renaud, and together we are the founders of Pivot Dancer. We are Registered International Sports Physical Therapists and FCAMPT manual therapists. We are also leaders in the Canadian Physiotherapy arena with resumes including multiple academic speaking engagements, professional awards, and international sports travel. 

We are also dancers. Dancers who grew up in small city centers on the East coast of Canada with huge passion and critical eyes honed from years of dance training. 

Accessing dance specific resources in health care is challenging in large city centers and even more challenging in smaller cities, towns and villages. Feeling alone in any circumstances is difficult, but feeling alone while injured and without resources can be physically and mentally devastating for dancers. 

We created Pivot Dancer to ensure that all dancers everywhere have access to experts regardless of where they live, who they know, or what they can afford. A platform that is more important now, during the times of COVID, than ever before. 

What’s the Secret?

Science shows that the first person a dancer will ask for advice regarding an injury is their dance teacher. They feel that their teacher understands them and they have a trusting relationship. We want to share the exercises with you that will resonate with an artistic athlete. 

We have instructed dancers all over the world who speak different languages – but they all speak dance. 

Dance has a common language worldwide.

The technique sequences in dance are named the same regardless of nationality or pedagogy. Artistic athletes have excellent body awareness and respond quickly with the right verbal and tactile cues. 

The secret we want to share with you is not only the exercises that will fill your clinical toolbox with the right tools, but also the language that will win your trust and compliance with your patients who dance. 

We invite you to learn more with Pivot Dancers through some of their top-tier online physiotherapy courses on Embodia by clicking the button below.

 

Learn more with Pivot Dancer

 

Selene Guerrero Trujillo - photo credit Karolina Kuras

 

Wishing you and your dancers long, safe and healthy careers from the Pivot Dancer and Embodia teams!

Dinah Hampson
BA, BSc.PT, FCAMT, RISPT

CO-FOUNDER Pivot Dancer
Registered Physiotherapist

Dip. Manual & Manipulative Physiotherapy, Dip. Sport Physiotherapy, Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Certification Jr to Advanced levels, Certified pelvic physiotherapy

Dinah Hampson is a registered physiotherapist with 20+ years experience. She holds both a post-graduate Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy and in Advanced Manual and Manipulative Therapy. Dinah is a member of the Healthy Dancer Canada Network and of the International Association of Dance Medicine Science. Dinah was classically trained in ballet, danced with the Young Dancer’s Company of the Newfoundland Dance Theatre and Musical Theatre productions. Dinah regularly assesses and treats dancers from professional dance training programs and companies as well as community/competitive dancers. Dinah is the owner of Pivot Sport Medicine in Toronto, Ontario.

Geneviève Renaud
BSc.PT, MClSc.PT, FCAMPT, RISPT

CO-FOUNDER Pivot Dancer
Registered Bilingual Physiotherapist

Dip. Manual & Manipulative Physiotherapy, Dip. Sport Physiotherapy Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Certification Jr to Advanced levels.

Geneviève, a native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, is a registered physiotherapist with 12+ years of experience in sport rehabilitation. She holds both a post-graduate Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy and in Advanced Manual and Manipulative Therapy. Geneviève is a member of the Healthy Dancer Canada Network and of the International Association of Dance Medicine Science. She danced competitively for 20+ years, training in tap, jazz, ballet and contemporary dance and successfully passed the BATD Jazz associate exam with Highly Commended. Geneviève is the creator of the Strong Dancer program and has been asked to teach injury prevention workshops at multiple dance conferences. She currently treats athletes and dancers in a private clinic in Ottawa, Ontario and is a contractor with CSIO.

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