Informational Papers from the Task Force on Dancer Health

One goal of the Task Force is to serve as a resource regarding issues of health and wellness for the professional dancer.  These papers are written as brief educational overviews on topics important in the professional dance community.  These papers are meant to help guide and inform the dancer, and are not meant to take the place of the advice of a medical professional. 
* All of the papers listed below are under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health*

The Dancer's Planning Guide to Optimizing Immunity During COVID-19 and Beyond 

Linda Bluestein, M.D. under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

This paper offers suggestions to professional dancers to optimize immunity. Simple lifestyle, diet, and supplement changes may improve immune function and decrease chronic inflammation in the dancer.  Working towards these goals will provide benefits at all times, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wound Care for Dancers 

Desiree A. Unsworth, PT, DPT under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

Proper wound care is paramount to prevent skin infections. This paper helps dancers recognize the signs of skin infections, provides tips for preventing them, and gives steps for treating minor wounds including blisters.

What You Should Know About Vegan and Vegetarian Diets 

Marie Scioscia, M.S., R.D. under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

Considering a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet?  Here are some tips to maximize energy, keep you strong and keep you help you maintain your health as a dance athlete.  Sample menu suggestions included!

COVID-19: Ideas for Staying in Shape during Social Isolation Restrictions  

Written by:  Kathleen Bower, PT, DPT and Heather Southwick, PT, MS, PT under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

This paper offers suggestions for individual dancers to maintain their health and wellness during this time of social isolation and distancing due to COVID-19. Some return to work considerations for getting back in to the studios are also offered for individual dancers. 

Return to Dancing and Training Considerations Due to-COVID-19 

Written by: Heather Southwick, PT, MSPT, Selina Shah, MD, FACP, FAMSSM, and Kathleen Bower, PT, DPT under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

The purpose of this paper is to provide resources and information companies can use to develop return-to-studio protocols with a phased approach in the context of COVID-19. These considerations are not meant to be prescriptive, but rather informative to help individual dance companies create their own return-to-studio protocols based on their situation and the stipulations put in place by their local public health authorities and governments. As the Task Force on Dancer Health, we strongly recommend making these decisions based on medical advice.  As a result, your studio phase may lag behind the local government phase in reopening.

COVID-19 FAQ for Dancers and Dance Companies Returning to the Studios   

Written by Heather Southwick, PT, MSPT, Selina Shah, MD, FACP, FAMSSM, Kathleen Bower, PT, DPT, Kathleen Davenport, MD under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020 - UPDATED JULY 2020)

The purpose of this paper is meant to provide more specifics for dancers and companies as we all work to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 and provide safe environments for dancers in the studio. As the knowledge regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing, please also refer to the resources contained in this document and your local public health officials.  This paper is meant as a companion to the previous paper titled: Return to Dancing and Training Considerations Due to-COVID-19

Pregnancy in Dance 
Written by: Elizabeth Manejias, MDunder the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

This paper will help a pregnant dancer learn more about the changes of their body that occur during pregnancy. 

Post Partum Guidelines for Dancers 

Written by: Amanda M Blackmon, PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT, and Ami Kirollos, SPT, NASM-CPT, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

This paper will offer guidance for the dancer after pregnancy and in the post-partum period.

Concerned about Abuse and Harassment on Tour? Some Things to Think About 

Written by: Janine Cappello-Bryant BFA, MA, SFHEA,  Matthew Eldridge MSW RSW, JoAnne Lafleche MA, MSc., Sue Porter JD, Rhonda RobertsBA, Bonnie Robson MD FRCPC, MegSaxby BA, MSW, RSW, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)
Consultant: Sedina Fiati BFA

By defining and discussing Harassment, Abuse, and Bullying this paper helps the dancer to recognize, to prevent, and to handle or modify these harmful events.

Sleep for Dancers  

Written by: Dani Dowler MFA, Bonnie Robson MD FRCPC, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2020)

Dancers need a good night's sleep, both in quality and quantity. This paper looks at the benefits of sleep, and ways of improving sleep length and quality. It also discusses common sleep problems.

Bending Without Breaking—Implications of Hypermobility in Dancers 

Written by: Amanda Blackmon, PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT & Emma Faulkner, PT, DPT, OCS, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2019)

This paper helps the dancer to learn more about hypermobility and provides resources for managing hypermobility.  

"I Leak When I Leap!" - Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in Dancers  

Written by Ashley Whitehead, PT, DPT, CLT under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2018)

Leaking urine (even just a little) when performing may be due to pelvic floor dysfunction.  This paper aims to educate on pelvic floor dysfunction, how to identify it, and some treatment strategies. 

Facts on Medical Marijuana (Cannabis) for Dancers 

Written by Katherine Ewalt, MS, ATC, HHP, BCTMB, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2019) 

In this paper, dancers learn a basic knowledge of what medical marijuana is, the ways it can be taken, and its effects on the human body, mind and function. 

Health Insurance Tips for Dancers 

Written by: Bené Barrera LAT, ATC with collaboration from Catherine Hagan Vargo, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2019)

In this paper, the dancer learns the basics of the health insurance world including a glossary of terms to help clarify some of the common language used regarding health insurance.  

Tips for Dancers: Living with HIV and Preventing HIV Infection 

Written by:  Matthew Grierson, MD, with contributions from Jason Hu, MD, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2019)

This paper provides information about HIV, tips for preventing infection and resources for those living with HIV. 

Suicidal Ideation  

Written by: Heather Herod Cole, MS, PT, COMT, CPI, CMTPT and Amy Lazarov, LPC-MHSP, NCC under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2019)

Information for individuals who are thinking of dying from suicide or having suicidal thoughts. 

Suicide Awareness 

Written by: Leanne Wobash, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2019)

Information for individuals who are worried that a fellow dancer or friend may be thinking about suicide.

Dance Recovery Nutrition: What is Appropriate for Dancers?

Written by Jeffrey Lucchino, MS RDN CSSD under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2018)

Nutrition is crucial to the everyday life of a dancer both in the performance and recovery aspects.  This papers helps dancers plan snacks and recovery meals to help in energy usage. 

Big little secrets: Traumatic Experiences in the Dance World  

Written by Jo-Anne La Flèche, Clinical and Dance psychologist 
Reviewed by Matt Eldridge, MSW, RSW (Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre), Dr. Bonnie Robson, retired psychiatrist, and Dr Mark Seton, Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2018) 

This paper discusses some main sources of trauma in the dance world and methods that can be taken to prevent abuse.  It also provides strategies on how to cope with trauma. 

Coping with Stress on Stage and in Life: The practice of mindfulness and self-compassion  

Written by Jo-Anne La Flèche, Clinical and Dance psychologist 
Reviewed by Matt Eldridge, MSW, RSW (Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre); Dr. Bonnie Robson, retired psychiatrist; and Dr Mark Seton, Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2018) 

This paper will help you learn more about stress and coping strategies.  There is discussion on self-compassion and approaches to implement this into everyday life. 

Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health: Nutritional Tips for Dancers 

Written by Selina Shah, MD, FACP, FAMSSM under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2015, UPDATED 2020) 

Adequate Vitamin D and calcium are crucial to maintain proper bone health.  This paper helps outline some of the health requirements to ensure appropriate levels of vitamin D and calcium.

Heat Illness and Dehydration    

Written by Brad Moser, MD, Lauren Elson, MD, Selina Shah, MD, FACP, Shaw Bronner, PT, Phd, OCS PT under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2011)

Dancers can find themselves in a variety of challenging performance situations.  This paper helps to inform the dancer on how the body dissipates heat, the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses and how to avoid heat illness.

Backstage First Aid Kit Necessities    

Written by Shaw Bronner, PT, Phd, OCS, Heather Southwick, PT, Marika Molnar, PT, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2015)

This paper lists considerations and supplies for a back stage first aide kit for health care practitioners as well as stage managers. 

Staying Healthy on Tour    

Written by Shaw Bronner, PT, Phd, OCS, Heather Southwick, PT under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2015)

When traveling outside the United States and Canada, our bodily systems are vulnerable to unfamiliar bacteria and it is possible to get sick from food borne or hygiene related illnesses. In an effort to keep you healthy while traveling, these tips may assist you.

Tips for Dancers on Anxiety        

Written by Kathleen Davenport, MD, Lauren Elson, MD, Patrick Gannon, PhD, Bonnie Robson, MD, DPsych, DCP, FRCP (C) under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2015).

This paper provides basic information on the symptoms & causes of anxiety, describes various types of anxiety-related disorders and provides ways to manage anxiety.  

Tips on Depressive Illness for Dancers    

Written by Mary S Burns, PhD, Patrick Gannon, PhD, Bonnie Robson, MD, DPsych., DCP, FRCP(C), Heather Southwick, PT under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2015)

Depressive illness can change how one performs and functions.  This paper helps dancers to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of depression, along with some resources for when and where to get help. 

Tips on Concussions for Dancers 

Updated by Katherine Ewalt, MS, ATC, HHP, BCTMB and Matthew Grierson, MD, FAAPMR under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2019)

Written by Katherine Ewalt, MS, ATC, HHP, NCTM, with contributions from Lauren Kreha, ATC, Bonnie Robson, MD, DPsych., DCP, FRCP(C), Laura Cruz, MSc, MD, CCFP, Dip Sport Med, Paul Papoutsakis, CAT(C) D.Ac., Shaw Bronner, PT, Phd, OCS and Selina Shah, MD, FACP, under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health (2013)

This paper is an updated resource on concussion, signs and symptoms, what to do if a concussion occurs, recovery from concussion, returning to dance, and the medical providers a dancer may encounter during concussion recovery. 

For more information, please see our Additional Resources page

Considering a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet?  Here are some tips to maximize energy, keep you strong and keep you help you maintain your health as a dance athlete.  Sample menu suggestions included!