HSS Partners with PBA to Offer High-Tech Health Screenings for Dancers

9/8/2020

Dance students who spent the summer in quarantine underwent a high-tech screening to prevent injuries upon their return to the studio, thanks to a partnership with the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Dr. Kathleen Davenport invited Jin Hanley, associate professor of dance, and her students to get Dynamic Athletic Research Institute (DARI) Motion tests at the new HSS orthopedic center less than two miles from campus. Davenport is both a dancer and a medical doctor who specializes in dancer health.

DARI uses a camera system to capture and analyze patterns of motion, said Davenport, director of physiatry for HSS Florida. The results allow doctors to identify areas of weakness or imbalance. They then use that information to coach athletes on preventing injuries and improving performance.

Students dance on the beach at the end of an intensive that kicked off the semester.HSS doctors care for high-level professional athletes, including the New York Mets, polo players and golfers. HSS provided the screenings at no cost to students. Additionally, dancers completed range of motion and cardiac step tests to measure their heart health.

“Our goal is to make sure our dancers understand about their bodies, health and injury prevention,” Hanley said. “This process will help them.”

At Hanley’s recommendation, Candace Smith, a freshman dance major from Johnson City, Tennessee, was one of the first students to complete the DARI Motion test. “She said it was a really good opportunity to learn more about my body,” Smith said.

Smith said she was impressed that doctors could screen from her hip all the way down to her ankle.

Dance pedagogy major Taylor Greco said the data she obtained from the screening will help her regain her strength after an injury. Greco had a 12-year dance career, including four years with the New York Knicks, before studying at PBA and teaching in the Preparatory Department.

“It’s really important for dancers to get these assessments” early on so that they can prevent injury and have successful careers, Greco said.

The screenings preceded a two-day master class with several workshops with dance professionals. In one workshop, Davenport presented dance-specific tips for preventing COVID-19. The master class culminated with students dancing on the beach.

Photo: Students dance on the beach at the culmination of an intensive they completed when they returned to campus for the semester.