“Only the astronaut in our society is a more selected individual than the professional ballet dancer.”
(Dr William G Hamilton)
A physiotherapy dance screen (as per the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia, TDCA) is an assessment designed to examine the dancers abilities and movement patterns prior to enrolling in a full time dance course. It generally covers a full physical assessment of your body focusing on relevant movement patterns, movement limitations and joint range of motion. It is also important to screen questions from your medical and dance history that may shed some light on the risk levels for future injury that may result from increased hours of dance.
A pre-pointe assessment as a modified version of a dance screen and is done on younger dancers wanting to transition to the use of pointe shoes in ballet. In this screen the physio will assess the pelvis, trunk, knees and feet to determine if there is sufficient strength, range of movement and control to cope with the increased load that is associated with pointe work. Common concerns around whether the growth plates can be prematurely affected in dancers are largely baseless with no reports in the literature showing this. Hypermobile dancers are often held back if there is excessive range present in the knee/ankle to ensure sufficient strength and control has been obtained.
Factors that determine whether a dancer is suitable for pointe work include:
- years of training
- number of classes per week
- level of hypermobility
Your physio can work with your dance teacher and explain to you areas that may need further attention in order to prevent injury prior to starting pointe work.
More information about dance injuries and assessments can be found at the Aus Dance website