Health professionals discuss foot flexibility with a dancer at a health-care event run by Boston Dance Alliance last year. Courtesy Boston Dance Alliance.

Calling All Ballet Dancers: Join Boston Dance Alliance for a Month of Virtual Health Workshops

After many months distanced from the studio due to the coronavirus pandemic, dancers across the country are sorely missing their regular schedule of class, rehearsal and performance. But staying home also means that dancers have lost out on a bevy of health and wellness services crucial to keeping their bodies in top shape.

October 7–30 Boston Dance Alliance aims to fill that gap with Dancer Health Month, a series of online workshops, conversations and presentations by dance medicine experts. Though it's taking the place of BDA's annual, locally based Dancer Health Day, Dancer Health Month is open to dancers everywhere. With topics ranging from foot and hamstring care to injury prevention, participants will have access to all three weeks of programming for $15. "Boston Dance Alliance knows in-person dancing will come back," says BDA executive director Debra Cash. "We want to make sure people, too, can come back as strong and healthy as possible."

Click here to register, and check out the schedule of events below. All sessions are in Eastern time, and more topics will be added throughout the month.


October 7, 3–4:30 pm: Getting Back to the Studio

Dancer Health Month's first session focuses on getting dancers back to class and the studio during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 90-minute workshop will be taught by Boston Ballet director of physical therapy, Heather Southwick.

October 13, 5:30–6:30 pm: Building Core Strength

Join Cambridge, Massachusetts–based physical therapist Melissa Buffer of Buffer Trenouth Physical Therapy and Wellness for an hour focused on building core strength.

October 20, 5:30–6:30 pm: Foot and Hamstring Care

Buffer returns to zero in on two areas paramount to dancers' physical health: feet and hamstrings.

October 24, 11 am–12 pm: Foot Strength and Control

Jumpstart your weekend with this workshop taught by physical therapist Michaela Main, of Newton, Massachusetts–based Girl Fit Physical Therapy, Inc., on the importance of foot strength and control for dancers.

October 25, 12:00–1:30 pm: The Ellové Technique

Get out your yoga mat: Physical therapist Stephanie Heroux of Active Motion Physical Therapy in Wakefield, Massachusetts, will teach a 55-minute conditioning class melding elements of ballet, Pilates and yoga aimed at injury prevention for dancers. Class will be followed by a half-hour-long presentation and Q&A on the benefits of cross-conditioning.

October 30, 11:30 am–12:30 pm: Energy Optimization

For the last session of the series, Boston Ballet company physician Dr. Bridget J. Quinn offers a talk on energy optimization for dancers. Quinn is also an attending physician in the Division of Sports Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital.

Related Articles Around the Web

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks