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Health Screenings for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

UPMC Sports Medicine provides tailored treatment and care for the elite dancers of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.

We use a standardized screening tool and related protocols to assess each dancer's health.

Along with providing health and surgical services, dancers have access to on-site treatment from UPMC's:

  • Sports medicine doctors
  • Physical therapists
  • Athletic trainers
  • Nutrition counselors

Reasons for Screening Ballet Dancers

The UPMC Sports Medicine designed these early-season health screenings to:

  • Detect potentially life-threatening or disabling diseases or musculoskeletal problems that may limit a dancer’s safe participation.
  • Find any health issues that may increase a dancer's risk for injury or illness during their season.
  • Assess the general health and fitness level of the dancers.
  • Counsel the dancers and offer health advice based on the screening results.
  • Introduce new dancers to the UPMC health care team and resources we provide the Pittsburgh Ballet.

Our Other Services for the Pittsburgh Ballet

The experts at UPMC Sports Medicine are committed to helping dancers stay injury-free and performing their best.

Along with early-season screenings, we also offer dancers:

  • Evaluations of dance-related injuries and consult services.
  • Custom treatment and rehab programs.
  • Functional movement analyses.
  • Assessments for posture, muscle imbalance, total strength, core strength, and neuromuscular firing pattern.
  • Core stabilization and strength training.
  • Flexibility and cardiovascular training.

History of Screenings for Ballet Dancers


  • Freddie Fu, MD, begins working with the 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 check on injured dancers and attends ballet productions in case of injury through 2021.


  • UPMC Sports Medicine provides one of the first mandatory early-season screenings designed for ballet dancers.
  • Health care team assesses strength, flexibility, or other issues that might cause an injury later in the season.
  • Team educates dancers about deficits or weaknesses based on screening results.


  • 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 pro dance companies around the United States use the health screening tool on every member of their dance companies.


  • The International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conference shares the preliminary results from the dance companies that participated in the screenings between 2011 and 2013.