Dance Injury Prevention Programs
At NYU Langone’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, we use our experience managing dance-related injuries to educate dancers about how to avoid injury and stay healthy. We accomplish this through programs and services that focus on assessing your risk of injury and diagnosing injuries at their earliest and most treatable stages.
The success of our injury prevention programs has been proven on the most famed stages in the world. Not only have our experts protected and lengthened the careers of talented performing artists, we have given these dancers—and the professionals who train and care for them—the confidence and ability to accomplish their greatest professional goals.
Injury Prevention Assessment
The injury prevention assessment program offers a free evaluation that aims to prevent dance injuries before they occur. You meet with an athletic trainer or physical therapist who observes your dance technique, evaluates your strength and flexibility, and reviews your medical and nutritional history.
At the end of the assessment, your licensed clinician provides you with an individually tailored exercise regimen that includes recommendations for technique modification, training strategies, and footwear that can reduce the risk of injury. We offer in-person visits and video visits at different times during the week.
Injury Prevention Lectures and Workshops
Injury prevention lectures and workshops address all aspects of injury prevention, including cross-training, warm-up techniques, nutrition and hydration, pointe readiness, and environmental safety.
These offerings can be tailored for varied audiences, including dancers, producers, teachers, parents, company managers, and healthcare professionals. To schedule or inquire about a workshop for your organization, please complete our information request form and email it to Harkness@NYULangone.org.
Harkness Center Healthy Dancer Initiative
The Harkness Center Healthy Dancer Initiative, launched in early 2018, provides subsidized movement sessions and free wellness workshops to professional dancers who have financial need. The program aims to encourage a sound, holistic approach to self-care and aid in career longevity. To achieve these goals, Harkness Center is partnering with the Mark Morris Dance Group and Gibney.
The next six-month term takes place from January 2, 2024, to June 30, 2024. Applications open on October 20, 2023, and close on November 17, 2023. Applicants are notified of acceptance on December 1 and must confirm participation by December 15. See the Mark Morris Dance Group or Gibney website for more information.
Raked Stage Seminars
Raked stage seminars provide performers with information on how to work safely on nontraditional dance surfaces. These may include a raked, or angled, stage, as well as hard, soft, hot, cold, or wet surfaces. Information about working safely in other performance settings—such as on a ceiling, in a pool, or in the air while using a harness—is also provided.
Pointe Readiness Program
Ballet dancers are typically considered ready to use the pointe technique, which requires toe shoes, at 12 years of age. However, musculoskeletal maturity and motor skill development vary greatly. The Harkness Center for Dance Injuries’ pointe readiness program consists of a series of dynamic tests. These can provide an accurate estimation to parents and dance company leaders of a youth’s readiness to safely begin pointe work.
Annual Health Screenings
We provide annual health screenings to dance companies and theater and entertainment organizations. Each performer receives a full, activity-specific functional movement evaluation, individualized report, and instructions on how to address his or her particular health risks.
The consulting organization receives a summary report that identifies the dancers’ overall risk of injury. We also provide suggestions on ways to keep dancers healthy that can reduce the organization’s costs in the long term.
Ergonomic evaluations identify risk factors associated with the physical and psychosocial aspects of the dance environment. Equipment modifications and training recommendations are provided.