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


Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami City Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Courtesy Carrie Gaerte, modeled by 2020 Butler University graduate Michela Semenza

Concussions Are More Than a Bump on the Head. Here's What Dancers Need to Know

Your partner accidentally drops you during a lift. You collide head-on with another dancer in rehearsal. Or you're hit in the face while you're spotting a turn. Even if you didn't lose consciousness, you may have a concussion, which can occur from a direct blow to the head or rotary force of the brain moving excessively or striking the skull.

As a dancer, your first instinct may be to keep going, but you shouldn't, says physical therapist and athletic trainer Carrie Gaerte, PT, DPT, ATC, who works with Butler University in Indianapolis and at Ascension St. Vincent Sports Performance. "What's really hard for dancers is admitting that maybe something isn't right," she says. "But the big thing about concussions is that your brain is not like your ankle, shoulder or knee. When your brain has an injury, that needs to take precedence over a role or a job."

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Thinking About College Ballet Programs? Here's a Comprehensive Guide to the Application Process

Gone are the days when you had to skip college in order to have a successful ballet career. College ballet programs are better than ever before, providing students with the training, professional connections and performance experience they need to thrive in companies postgraduation. But given the number of elements involved in the application process, choosing the right program can feel daunting. We've broken the college application timeline down step by step to help you best approach each stage along the way.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks