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Health Screenings for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

UPMC Sports Medicine provides specialized treatment and care for the elite dancers who perform with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. In addition to medical and surgical services, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater has access to on-site treatment from UPMC physical therapists, athletic trainers, and nutritional counselers.

History of Screenings for Ballet Dancers

  • ​Freddie Fu, MD, begins working closely with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, making it one of the first professional ballet companies to include a residency program focused on dance.
  • Dr. Fu makes weekly visits to evaluate injured dancers and attends productions in case of an injury.
  • ​UPMC Sports Medicine provides one of the first mandatory early-season screenings designed for ballet dancers.
  • Medical staff is able to evaluate strength, flexibility, or postural deficits that might contribute to an injury later in the season.
  • Medical staff educates dancers about deficits or weaknesses uncovered in the screening.
  • ​Dance/USA Managers Council requests that the Task Force on Dancer Health provides recommendations on preventing injury and illness in professional dance.
  • As part of the Task Force, UPMC Sports Medicine helps conclude that the most important step to improve dancer health and prevent injury is to screen for risk factors and counsel each dancer based on the results.
  • ​UPMC Sports Medicine and professional dance companies around the United States use the screening tool on every member of their dance companies.
  • ​Preliminary results from the companies that participated in the screenings between 2011 and 2013 will be presented at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conference.


Purposes of Screening

The early-season health screenings are designed to:

  • Detect potentially life-threatening or disabling medical or musculoskeletal conditions that may limit a dancer’s safe participation.
  • Detect medical or musculoskeletal conditions that may predispose dancers to injury and/or illness during their season.
  • Determine the general health and assess the fitness level of the dancers.
  • Counsel the dancers and make recommendations based on the screening information.
  • Use a standardized screening tool and associated protocols to assess dancer health.
  • Introduce new dancers to the company’s health care team and the health resources available to them.

Our Services

Physicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists at UPMC Sports Medicine are committed to helping dancers stay injury-free and performing their best. In addition to early-season screenings, we offer:
  • Evaluation and consultation of dance-related injuries
  • Functional movement analysis
  • Individual treatment and rehabilitation programs
  • Core stabilization and strength training
  • Flexibility and cardiovascular training
  • Assessments for posture, muscle imbalance, total strength, core strength, and neuromuscular firing pattern
  • Nutritional counseling

To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678). 

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