Jocelyn Szeto, MD, along with a team of physical therapists, is working with dancers at the Carolina Ballet Theater (CBT) in Greenville, SC, to conduct research on dancer and performer health. According to a Greenville Online news report, the research team works with the dancers as they move through seven stations in the main studio of the theater. Physical therapists measure the dancers’ core strength, hip flexibility, and overall stability. Szeto explains, “It’s not just doing the movement, but how they’re doing it, and if they’re doing it the correct way.”

The Greenville Online news report notes that the tests are more commonly used in weight rooms, but Szeto sees the merit in using these tests to evaluate athletes for areas of weakness to help dancers as well. Szeto hopes the results of the research will create a new area of sports medicine that is solely focused on dancer and performer health. The research may lead to a better understanding of how repeated motions affect dancers’ bodies and how injuries often associated with dance can be prevented.

Szeto states, “Dancers are different because most of their injuries are overuse, so it’s hard to tease out the inciting factor. But, hopefully, the movement screen will give us more information because there really isn’t a lot of literature about dance medicine out there right now.”

The Greenville Online news report notes that Szeto began her research testing student dancers there at the Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities. She will compare the results from those tests with the CBT to help develop a preventive approach to dancer injury. The Carolina Ballet Theater has launched a PhD (Physical Health of Dancers) series in January to help educate the dance community about proper nutrition, strength development, and overall health.

Szeto hopes her research will lay the groundwork for more physical therapy-dance partnerships. She envisions a program like the one many high schools have for their football players that brings therapists to the school on a regular basis to help with injuries and proper training.

[Source: Greenville Online]