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Assessing & Treating Dancers and Artistic Athletes

Assessing & Treating Dancers and Artistic Athletes

Assessing & Treating Dancers and Artistic Athletes

This course includes
21:33:19 of Course Material (View)
Patient Exercises (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion
This course was recorded in November 2020


Do you see dancers or artistic athletes in your clinic? These athletes can be challenging to assess and treat due to their available range of motion, hypermobile movement patterns, and training schedules. Come learn how to better manage your dancers & artistic athletes with Dinah Hampson & Geneviève Renaud, physiotherapists, and co-founders of Pivot Dancer, an expert resource providing evidence-based content to the dance community.

Join us for an 8-week deep dive to learn clinical pearls when working with the dancer community. Dinah and Gen will share over 40 years of collective clinical practice and experience working in the industry.  Guest speakers from Pivot Dancer will participate in several of the weekly sessions giving you the opportunity to hear directly from professional dancers, teachers, and other experts about the assessment and treatment of dancers.  We want to expose you to the knowledge and the real-life experience of dance.

Learning Objectives 

  • Understand injury risks and rates in the dance community
  • Carry out and analyze a thorough clinical exam for the dance population
  • Recognize special clinical considerations for dancers
  • Confidently perform a pre-season screen and a pre-pointe assessment
  • Become familiar with the equipment used in a variety of dance forms
  • Identify hypermobile dancers and integrate management techniques
  • Understand special considerations for the pelvic floor, hip, knee, ankle and foot
  • Design an exercise program to help address dance issues


Week 1 - Introduction to Dance Injuries

In this session, you will be introduced to the literature on dance injuries.  Review of incidence, prevalence, and risk factors.  We will look at dancers as artistic athletes, dance as an art form, and dance as a sport.  We will also discuss the culture of dance, the history and pedagogy, and how this impacts pain, injury reporting, and management.

Week 2 - Managing Dancers and Artistic Athletes in the Clinic

This session will be dedicated to the clinical assessment of dancers. We will work through assessment considerations, assessment form adaptations and questions of importance and how the information will guide your follow up and potential referral to other health care professionals and resources. Learn which questions should be added to your clinical history and what we recommend adding to your clinical examination - clinical pearls and words of wisdom.  We will go through dance specific questions and objective tests used to pick up dance specific injuries. We will also review special considerations in the rehabilitation of dancers from musculoskeletal injuries and concussions including nutrition and the multidisciplinary team approach. Who is on your team? Dancers may include accessory health and exercise professionals to their entourage, becoming familiar with a dancer’s multidisciplinary team will help you navigate treatment with greater success. 

Week 3 - Preseason Screening

Learn how a preseason screen can help your dancers prevent injuries by developing an individualized pre-habilitation program. We will take you through the components of a thorough preseason screen for dancers as well as breaking out technical assessment skills including a full pre-pointe assessment.

Week 4 - Hypermobility

What is the difference between flexibility, instability, and hypermobility? How do you determine if a dancer is hypermobile & does it even matter? This session will review pathology that can be associated with hypermobility and how this may impact the medical management of your patients. We will also review how to assess and manage hypermobile dancers and we will share invaluable clinical pearls when working with this population that has taken years of training, clinical experience, and research to accumulate.

Week 5 - The Foot & Ankle

This session will focus on everything relating to the foot and ankle joints. In week one, you will become familiar with the literature and the overwhelming prevalence of lower-body injuries in dancers. This week will demystify common foot conditions seen in dancers and well as special considerations for this population. These include flooring, footwear, foot care - tools and tricks of the trade from lamb’s wool to plumbing foam and plastic bags - we’ll have some fun here.  Finally an in-depth look at shoe fit, elastics, ribbons and breaking in shoes for dance properly.  Parents will be extremely appreciative when you can assist in this area and this knowledge will aid you to better manage injuries and reduce risk.


Week 6 - The Hip & Knee

Let’s not forget about the hips and knees! They also fall into that 90% of injuries in the lower extremities. There are conditions & special considerations in dance due to the technical demands and the frequent utilization of external rotation of the hips. Being able to accurately assess turn out, alignment, and how the dancer is achieving this position will greatly improve the efficiency of your assessments. This will also lead you to look differently at how dancers use their bodies and how to adapt rehabilitation accordingly. We will finish by looking at specific hip & knee strengthening, review some of our favourite exercises, and discuss a personal injury story (professional dancer injury experience).


Week 7 - The Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is currently a hot topic in rehabilitation, but how does it apply to our dancer community? What are the functions of the pelvic floor in dance? How is the pelvic floor related to the hip and back? This session will review the function of the pelvic floor, an external exam, and how it relates to repetitive turn out and bounding. We will look at identifying pelvic floor issues and treatment strategies that non-pelvic floor practitioners can use in their clinical practice. We will also look at the dancer’s experience and perspective of pelvic floor engagement. Finally, we will go through special considerations for male dancers, return to dance after pregnancy, and pelvic floor work for musical theatre artists.


Week 8 - The Strong Dancer

Let’s talk about strengthening for dancers. The Strong Dancer program educates and strengthens dancers through fun classes that are designed to work on the specific needs of dancers and artistic athletes. All classes integrate exercise physiology concepts with yoga, Pilates, and strength training to build strong, resilient dancers. We will review the importance of breathing, neuromuscular training, safe stretching, strength training, and the cardiovascular demands of dance.  This session will finish with a one hour class where you become the participant and experience strength training designed for dancers in a way that will keep them motivated and engaged. Come dressed for sweat because we will be making you work; the best way to learn is to try it!



This course is perfect for healthcare professionals who see dancers and other artistic artists in their practice and want to learn how to better manage these patients in the clinic. Physiotherapists working in orthopedics and/or sports physiotherapy who see youth and professional dancers as well as other artistic athletes.


The instructors
Geneviève Renaud

CO-FOUNDER Pivot Dancer
Registered Bilingual Physiotherapist

Dip. Manual & Manipulative Physiotherapy, Dip. Sport Physiotherapy Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Certification Jr to Advanced levels.

Geneviève, a native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, is a registered physiotherapist with 12+ years of experience in sport rehabilitation. She holds both a post-graduate Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy and in Advanced Manual and Manipulative Therapy. Geneviève is a member of the Healthy Dancer Canada Network and of the International Association of Dance Medicine Science. She danced competitively for 20+ years, training in tap, jazz, ballet and contemporary dance and successfully passed the BATD Jazz associate exam with Highly Commended. Geneviève is the creator of the Strong Dancer program and has been asked to teach injury prevention workshops at multiple dance conferences. She currently treats athletes and dancers in a private clinic in Ottawa, Ontario and is a contractor with CSIO.

Dinah Hampson

FOUNDER Pivot Dancer
Registered Physiotherapist

Dip. Manual & Manipulative Physiotherapy, Dip. Sport Physiotherapy, Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Certification Jr to Advanced levels, Certified pelvic physiotherapy

Dinah Hampson is a registered physiotherapist with 20+ years experience. She holds both a post-graduate Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy and in Advanced Manual and Manipulative Therapy. Dinah is a member of the Healthy Dancer Canada Network and of the International Association of Dance Medicine Science. Dinah was classically trained in ballet, danced with the Young Dancer’s Company of the Newfoundland Dance Theatre and Musical Theatre productions. Dinah regularly assesses and treats dancers from professional dance training programs and companies as well as community/competitive dancers. Dinah is the owner of Pivot Sport Medicine in Toronto, Ontario.

Pivot Dancer

Pivot Dancer is a knowledge-sharing platform which provides evidence-based content to the dance community. We bring together experts from around the world to give you unprecedented access to knowledge acquired through years of experience in the world of dance and science. Learn more at
Course Material included in this course
  • Week 1: Introduction to dance injuries
  • Week 1 Resources
  • Dance is...
  • Barb Leese
  • Dance Science and Medicine
  • Why an Interest in Dance Injuries?
  • Dancers and Pain
  • Dr. Tanya Berg - Dance Culture and Pain
  • How ballerinas dance through pain
  • Risk of Injury
  • What Can We Do?
  • Week 1 Feedback
  • Week 2 - Managing dancers and artistic athletes in the clinic
  • Week 2 Resources
  • Clinical History
  • Clinical Exam
  • Art of Rehabilitation
  • Return to Dance
  • Intro to Concussions in Dance
  • Concussion Assessment
  • Concussion Treatment Planning for Dancers
  • The Pit Crew
  • Nutrition for Dancers
  • Snack Strategy
  • Week 2 Questions
  • Week 2 Feedback
  • Week 3 - Preseason screening
  • Week 3 Resources
  • Introduction to Pointe
  • Important Considerations
  • Pre-Pointe Objective Tests
  • Pre-Pointe Assessment
  • Mid-Session Questions
  • To Screen or Not to Screen
  • Why Are You Screening?
  • Dance Specific Screening Program
  • Functional Tests Part 1
  • Functional Tests Part 2
  • Functional Tests Part 3
  • Closing Questions
  • Week 3 Feedback
  • Week 4 - Hypermobility
  • Week 4 Resources
  • Defining Mobility
  • Clinical Presentation
  • Clinical Assessment
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment and Physical Rehabilitation
  • Exercise Demonstrations
  • Medical Aspects of Hypermobility in the Dancer
  • Hypermobility Disorders
  • Comorbidities
  • Questions Part 1
  • Questions Part 2
  • Week 4 Final Questions
  • Week 4 Feedback
  • Week 5 - The foot & ankle
  • Week 5 Resources
  • Week 5 Introduction
  • Anatomy of the Foot
  • Freiberg's and Cuboid Syndromes
  • Hallux Valgus / Bunions
  • Trigonum and Anterior/Posterior Impingement
  • Achilles
  • Apophysitis
  • Tendinopathy
  • MTSS, Ankle Sprains, and Foot Rehab
  • Flooring and Footwear
  • Week 5 Conclusion
  • Week 5 Questions
  • Week 5 Feedback
  • Week 6 - The hip & knee
  • Week 6 Resources
  • Week 6 Introduction
  • The Story of My Hip - Barbara Leese
  • Neuromuscular Training in Dance - Karen Sudds
  • Summary and Questions
  • The Hip
  • The Competitive Dancer's Hip
  • More Hip Conditions for Dancers
  • The Dancer Experience: Psoas Tear - Selene Guerrero-Trujillo
  • Ishchial Tuberosity and Turnout
  • The Knee
  • Exercise, Treatment, and Conclusion
  • Closing Questions Week 6
  • Week 6 Feedback
  • Week 7 - The pelvic floor
  • Week 7 Resources
  • Week 7 Introduction
  • A Dancer's Perspective - Nathaniel Dolquist
  • What is the Pelvic Floor?
  • Pelvic Floor Conditions and Complications
  • Pelvic Floor Anatomy and Treatment
  • A Dancer's Story with Pregnancy - Rebekah Rimsay
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises
  • New Research in Pelvic Floor Rehab - Brooke Winder
  • Dancers and Incontinence
  • Wrapping Up and Questions
  • Closing Questions Week 7
  • Week 7 Feedback
  • Week 8 - The Strong Dancer
  • Week 8 Resources
  • Week 8 Introduction
  • How Strengthening Affected My Career as a Professional Ballet Dancer - Isabella Gasparini
  • The Performing Athlete
  • Breathing
  • Balance and Turnout
  • Mobility
  • Strengthening the Hypermobile Ballet Dancer - Erica Horwood
  • The Science of Strength
  • Program Delivery
  • Exercises Part 1
  • Exercises Part 2
  • Exercises Part 3
  • Exercises Part 4
  • Conclusion
  • Week 8 Feedback
  • Clinic forms
  • Patient-Specific Functional Scale
  • Pre-Pointe Assessment
  • Pre-Season Screening & Clinical Assessment
  • Diagnostic criteria for hEDS
  • Five-Part Questionnaire for Hypermobility & Beighton Scale Scoresheet
  • Lower Limb Assessment Score Scoresheet
  • Handouts, programs & education
  • Activity modification letter for return to dance
  • Return to dance - Concussion protocol
  • The Dallas Protocol for POTS
  • Dance Bag essentials: foot care 101
  • Pointe Shoe Sewing Guide
  • Return to Jump Program
  • FIFA 11+ Dance - Program handout
  • Additional video content
  • Review of the five ballet positions
  • Révision des cinq positions de ballet
  • The only boy in the room
  • Mental health in dancers
  • The foot in dance
  • Dance shoes
  • Ballet shoes
  • Pointe shoes; sewing & breaking in
  • The Surgeon's Perspective
  • Additional resources
  • Links to Pivot Dancer resource packages
  • Dance medicine resources & associations
  • Glossary of dance terms (APTA)
  • Glossary of dance terms - Hip Hop (APTA)
  • Learn more about concussions
  • Research articles - Hypermobility
  • The NSCA's Basics of Strength and Conditioning Manual
Patient Exercises included in this course
  • Hip abduction in turnout on ball
  • Prone hip extension on a ball
  • Hamstring curl in 4 point with Pilates ball
  • Plié in hip bridge on ball
  • Retiré in hip bridge on ball
  • Turnout in hip bridge on ball
  • Grand battement in hip bridge on ball
  • Dead Bug with a kick stand
  • Single leg mini-squat to calf raise to hop with band (Jump technique)
  • Mini-squat to calf raise to leap with band (Jump technique)
  • Mini-squat to calf raise to jump with band (Jump technique)
  • Eccentric grand battement with resistance band
  • Ankle dorsiflexion against band
  • Shoulder taps in a hover
  • Bird dog: leg only
  • Bird dog in a hover
  • 90-90 sitting to kneeling
  • Hip External Rotation - Stability ball
  • hip External Rotation - single leg standing
  • Hip External Rotation - Bird dog
  • Hip Internal Rotation - Bird dog
  • Hip Internal Rotation - 4 point kneeling
  • hip External Rotation - 4 point kneeling
  • Hip Internal Rotation - high kneeling
  • Hip External Rotation - high kneeling
  • Spinal twist in deep lunge
  • 90-90 hip internal rotation mobility
  • Toe dissociation into a Pilates ball
  • Dead Bug: anti rotation progressions
  • Dead Bug: arms overhead control
  • Eversion isometrics into Pilates ball
  • Plantarflexion with alignment control (anti-sickling)
  • Breathing
  • Demi-Pointe strengthening into a Pilates ball
  • Hip flexor march in table top
  • Overhead spins (scapular stability)
  • Circular cat & cow
  • Pointe strengthening into Pilates ball
  • Tick Tock lunges
  • 90 90 dynamic hip external rot'n stretch
  • Single leg bridge
  • Foot dissociation (for Pointe & jump training)
  • Floor pushes (Jump technique drills)
  • Mini-squat to calf raise (Jump technique drills)
  • Shoulder W pulls
  • Rond-de-jambe in lumbar curl position
  • "Shark Fin" Lats Stretch
  • Assisted hip flexion in long sitting
  • Groin slider (in turnout)
  • Groin slider
  • Hamstring curl with slider
  • Clam in standing
  • Mini-squat to calf raise (single leg)
  • Ankle plantar flexion MWM
  • Ankle dorsiflexion MWM
  • Hamstring eccentric slider
  • Hip CARs
  • Core Control: Heel Slides in Crook Lying
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