Dancers always aware of potential for injuries
Nov 16, 2023, 8:41 PM | Updated: Nov 17, 2023, 7:00 am
SALT LAKE CITY – It’s an art form and a sport that’s beautiful to watch but dance doesn’t come without risk of injury.
“It requires a lot of planning and thought for you to able to perform this job,” said Vinicius Lima, a 28-year-old dancer from Brazil.
Lima and his fellow dancers at Ballet West in downtown Salt Lake are all too familiar with the pains that can result from their chosen career.
“If you look at anybody’s feet that dances, you can tell that they’ve been dancing for a while,” said 33-year-old Amy Potter, of Virginia.
Intermountain Health caregiver Dr. Jennifer Bentley is the primary physical therapist for Ballet West.
Her team sees many overuse injuries due to the dancers’ demanding schedules.
“These athletes are elite athletes,” Bentley said. “They’re always looking for a better way to make sure that they’re ready for the stage and also making sure to take care of their bodies. And it’s nice for us to be able to teach them that.”
A former dancer herself, Bentley sees about 20-30 dancers a day, helping them heal, and mostly working to help them prevent injuries in the first place.
“That’s one of our main differences with this partnership is we’re focusing a lot more on preventative care,” she said.
Their holistic approach includes cross-training – offering pilates classes for the dancers – as well as a focus on nutrition and mental health.
“I decompress and get my mind thinking about other things before I go to bed,” dancer Jake Preece said.
So while you watch them move gracefully across the stage, there’s much work being done behind the scenes to ensure their overall health and safety.
“It’s a bit time-consuming but also fulfilling to see how far your body can go,” Lima said.
And for these dancers – nothing is going to stop them.
“We almost learn something new about our bodies every time we get injured, so it just makes you wanna work that much harder and get that much stronger,” Potter said.