Our Dance Medicine Team

Members of our specialized team at NYU Langone’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries (HCDI) aim to advance the quality of dance science and improve the delivery of dance medicine by conducting ongoing research, establishing standards of excellence for dance medicine practitioners, and serving on the boards and committees of national and international dance medicine associations and journals. 

The members of our team have worked with some of the top dance companies and Broadway productions.

Directors

Donald J. Rose, MD, Medical Director

Dr. Rose is an orthopaedic consultant to numerous dance companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Cirque du Soleil, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, STREB, and the Joyce Theatre, as well as numerous dance schools, including The Conservatory of Dance at the State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase, and the Joffrey Ballet School. Dr. Rose has lectured nationally and internationally and written numerous chapters and papers on topics in sports medicine, dance medicine, and arthroscopic surgery. Learn more about Dr. Rose.

David S. Weiss, MD, Associate Medical Director

Dr. Weiss is an orthopaedic surgeon in private practice, specializing in dance medicine. He provides orthopaedic care to the Mark Morris Dance Group, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Parsons Dance Company, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Ballet Hispanico, and The Juilliard School. He has served as orthopaedist for more than 50 Broadway and off-Broadway theatrical productions, including Guys & Dolls, Miss Saigon, Cats, Grease, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, La Cage aux Folles, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Chita Rivera—The Dancer’s Life, Follies, Riverdance on Broadway, Wicked, and The Book of Mormon. He lectures frequently on dance medicine, nationally and internationally. Learn more about Dr. Weiss.

Marijeanne Liederbach, PhD, ATC, PT, CSCS, Director

Dr. Liederbach is a physical therapist and certified athletic trainer with a doctorate in biomechanics and ergonomics. Dr. Liederbach has provided backstage therapy for hundreds of dancers, dance companies, and Broadway shows. She is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, the National Advisory Committee for the American Physical Therapy Association's Performing Arts Practice Analysis, and the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health. Prior to her career in dance medicine, Dr. Liederbach danced professionally for many years and worked as a choreographer. Her critically acclaimed work has been shown in Europe and throughout the United States. 

Staff Physicians

Joey C. Fernandez, MD, Staff Physician

Dr. Fernandez is an internal medicine and sports medicine physician interested in the injuries and medical problems of performing artists. Dr. Fernandez has provided medical services and event coverage for various professional performing arts companies and athletic teams. He also studied dance and performed with the Joffrey Ballet School. Dr. Fernandez continues to enjoy taking dance classes in New York City.

Clinical Staff

Jennifer Swift Dalva PT, DPT, CSCS

Dr. Dalva, a physical therapist, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of arts in French language and culture and holds a doctorate in physical therapy from New York University. She brings over 25 years of dance training and performance experience to her practice and is thrilled to be part of the Harkness Center team, furthering its mission to enhance the health, wellbeing, and quality of life of dancers.

Alison Deleget, MS, ATC, Program Manager

Ms. Deleget joined the Harkness Center’s leadership team as program manager after working as a clinical specialist since 2005. She holds a graduate certificate in core business competencies from NYU. Ms. Deleget attended Indiana University on scholarship as a ballet major before transitioning into athletic training. She completed bachelor of science and master of science degrees in athletic training at Indiana University, and served as the head athletic trainer for the Indiana University Ballet Theatre during her graduate studies. She is also a certified Pilates instructor through the Pilates Method Alliance, and is a certified Pilates rehabilitation specialist through Polestar Education. As a clinical specialist, Ms. Deleget provided backstage athletic training services for various Broadway shows and elite dance companies in New York. She has lectured at international dance medicine conferences and also provides injury prevention assessments and lectures for the dance community at large. Ms. Deleget is on faculty at Dance Theatre of Harlem, serving both as the on-site athletic trainer and anatomy instructor for the ensemble company.

Faye E. Dilgen, PT, DPT, Supervisor of Dance Physical Therapy

Dr. Dilgen specializes in manual therapy, is Pilates mat certified, and provides rehabilitation and functional training for performing artists. She has treated dancers from a variety of companies and schools for over 20 years including Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Molissa Fenley. She has also developed curricula for the Feld Ballet School and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Dr. Dilgen has been section editor for the “Practical Applications” column for the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, and has presented her research at a number of professional dance medicine venues.

Heather Heineman, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist

Dr. Heineman holds a dual bachelor of arts from the University of Texas Austin in anthropology and archaeology, a master of arts from New York University in anthropological archaeology, and graduated with honors from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons with a doctorate of physical therapy. Dr. Heineman has been an instructor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Medicine, and Lotus College of Yoga, as well as a yoga instructor at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. Dr. Heineman has studied ballet, modern, and contemporary dance, and aerial arts, and has performed in New York City.

Joshua Honrado, MS, ATC, Project Associate

Mr. Honrado’s responsibilities include performing injury prevention assessments, educational lectures, research projects, and rehabilitation prescriptions. He also performs various tasks acting as a liaison for HCDI, coordinating professional continuing education courses, as well as internal and external marketing of the center’s programs. He received his master of science in athletic training from Seton Hall University. He has also received his yoga certification from the Joschi Yoga Institute and is affiliated with Yoga Alliance.

Johann Howard, DPT, Physical Therapist

Dr. Howard has been working with dancers since 1998. Previous to physical therapy, he was a licensed massage therapist running his own practice specializing in the treatment of dance injuries. He holds mastery level medical massage certificates in both the hip and shoulder. He is also certified in Kineseo Taping®. He has worked with Mark Morris, the Rockettes, Momix, and New York City Ballet, among many others. Dr. Howard is also an avid martial artist, having studied kung fu for 20 years. He has also studied sabre fencing for six years.

Shannen Kirchner PT, DPT, Physical Therapist

Dr. Kirchner studied dance and natural science at Muhlenberg College prior to receiving her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has studied Pilates at the Kane School in New York City, and is currently pursuing studies in orthopaedic manual therapy through the North American Institute of Manual Therapy. Dr. Kirchner has also studied at the Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, where she has been able to combine her understanding of internal dysfunction of the pelvis with an orthopaedic perspective. She values a strong mind-body connection as part of the healing process, and enjoys personal research in yoga, breathwork, and Ayurvedic practices.

Lauren McIntyre, ATC, Clinical Specialist, Emergency Management Liaison

Ms. McIntyre provides backstage coverage for Broadway shows and dance companies in New York City as well as injury prevention assessments and educational lectures to the dance community, and is an on-site certified athletic trainer for The Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase. Her research interest is concussion management in dancers and the performing arts population. Ms. McIntyre has been a consultant for Pointe, Dance, and Dance Teacher magazines, and featured in NATA News. She additionally serves as a lecturer at SUNY Purchase College, teaching their Anatomy for Dancers course.

Yuriko Nabeta, PT, MPT, OCS, Clinical Specialist

Ms. Nabeta was awarded the Ayers-Selman Founders scholarship from the Physical Therapy Department while pursuing her master’s degree in physical therapy. Before coming to the United States, Ms. Nabeta competed in numerous national dance competitions in Japan. In addition, she also works part time in a private clinic in Manhattan, where she does outreach and offers physical therapy to underserved artists, including foreign dancers and performers.

Sarah Plumer-Holzman, DPT, Resident Physical Therapist

Dr. Plumer-Holzman holds a doctorate of physical therapy from the University of Washington and is currently a resident physical therapist at the Harkness Center. She is an alumna of the North Carolina School of the Arts in contemporary dance and danced in New York City for 15 years, performing in both modern and contemporary ballet companies. She has studied with and assisted Irene Dowd in anatomy and kinesiology classes since 2000, an experience that inspired her to become a physical therapist. Dr. Plumer-Holzman has been a dedicated yoga practitioner for more than 20 years with training in the United States and India, and has taught anatomy and kinesiology for yoga teachers since 2006.

Megan Richardson, MS, ATC, Clinical Specialist

Ms. Richardson is a certified athletic trainer specializing in manual therapy, Pilates-based rehabilitation, and functional training for performing artists. She has provided backstage coverage to numerous dance companies and Broadway shows. Ms. Richardson has presented on issues related to dancer health and rehabilitation, both nationally and internationally. Currently, she sits on the development committee of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science, and is a founding member of the Performing Arts Work Group of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. 

Emily Sandow, PT, DPT, OCS, Assistant Supervisor of Dance Physical Therapy

Dr. Sandow is a board-certified, orthopaedic clinical specialist in physical therapy. She holds an undergraduate degree from NYU in mathematics, graduated with honors from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons with a master of science in physical therapy, and completed her doctorate of physical therapy at Columbia University. She received the Columbia University faculty award for outstanding student research. Dr. Sandow has published articles in peer-reviewed medical journals, has been an invited speaker at national and international medical conferences, and has been a consultant to Pointe, Dance Teacher, and Dance Spirit magazines. She is an instructor at NYU in the graduate and postgraduate physical therapy program. She also provides on-site physical therapy services to major dance companies and Broadway shows. Dr. Sandow trained in ballet and modern dance at the Laguardia High School of Performing Arts and the School of American Ballet, and has performed in New York City.

Suzanne Semanson, PT, DPT, Clinical Specialist

As a clinical specialist, Dr. Semanson treats dancers with injuries, teaches anatomy and injury prevention in the dance community, and assists with dance medicine research. Dr. Semanson is a board certified orthopaedic specialist in physical therapy. She obtained a bachelor of science from the University in Michigan in biological anthropology and a doctorate of physical therapy from Northwestern University. She brings more than 20 years of experience in movement-related arts, including dance, martial arts, and yoga, to her specialty as a dance medicine physical therapist. She additionally incorporates her knowledge and experience as a manual physical therapist, certified mat Pilates instructor, and registered yoga teacher during treatment sessions both at the clinic and on-site at theaters. She additionally serves as adjunct faculty in the physical therapy programs at Columbia University and Hunter College.

Administrative Staff

Colleen Hahn, Medical Office Associate

Ms. Hahn previously worked at PT Plus, P.C., where she enjoyed helping the dance community of New York City. She has loved getting to know some of the best dancers in the city through her job and looks forward to meeting more talented people though HCDI. Colleen is a natural light photographer specializing in portraiture. She has been able to take her appreciation for dance and apply it to her photography by capturing dancers’ movements in different locations around the city.

Leigh Heflin, MSc, MA, Program Coordinator of Education and Marketing

Ms. Heflin is the director of educational outreach programs, including all continuing education courses. She has presented at international conferences for dance medicine professionals and dance educators, and regularly presents injury prevention lectures for the dance community. Ms. Heflin has also worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for the past 10 years and has received 4 national certifications through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, and KettleBell Concepts. She has been a consultant for Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine, Backstage, and other dance publications on topics covering dancer health and fitness. Prior to entering the field of dance science, Ms. Heflin danced professionally in contemporary dance companies in New York and California.

Alexandra Pinel, Medical Office Associate

Ms. Pinel is a member of Movement of the People Dance Company and has showcased her own work in Washington, DC, Santiago, Chile, and in several New York dance film venues, such as Dance Film Association and House of Scandinavia. Ms. Pinel choreographed a music video for a Chinese rock band Re-TROS, and was a 2010 Luther Rice research fellow and recipient of the Maida Withers Dance Construction Company Award for innovation in Dance in 2011. Ms. Pinel is also a Junior Committee member of Dance NYC.

Jessica Mattsson, Medical Office Associate

Ms. Mattsson previously worked for Rutgers Football, assisting the Directors of Operations. Game day and recruiting event coordination was her specialty. She is a fitness enthusiast who does high-intensity interval training, weight lifting, and competes in endurance challenge races.

Kristina Todd Nelson, Medical Office Associate

Ms. Todd Nelson has danced professionally in both North Carolina and New York in modern dance and musical theatre. She currently teaches creative movement and ballet at Brooklyn Ballet, Peridance, and the 92nd Street Y. Ms. Nelson is also a certified Pilates mat instructor and teaches at Sanctuary Pilates.

Leigh Schanfein, MS, Research Associate

Ms. Schanfein’s research has focused on the mechanisms by which humans control balance and how sensory feedback is integrated for the control of posture. Ms. Schanfein has taught courses in health, motor development, biomechanics lab, and stress at Purdue University, and is a regular guest instructor and choreographer for dance schools in Indiana, Montana, California, Idaho, and New York. She has trained and performed across the U.S. and abroad in modern dance, ballet, and contemporary dance, and currently performs professionally in New York City. Her most recent endeavor is as Artistic Director of Dance for Periapsis Music and Dance, a nonprofit designed to eliminate the gap between emerging choreographers and live music by living composers. 

Adjunct Faculty

Marshall Hagins, PhD, PT, Physical Therapist

Dr. Hagins has published original works on clinical topics in dance medicine and has presented numerous papers before the International Association for Dance Medicine Science. He is currently an Associate Professor with the Division of Physical Therapy at Long Island University and is the physical therapy consultant for the Mark Morris Dance Group. Dr. Hagins also owns a small private practice in the Mark Morris Dance Group Center called Brooklyn Arts Physical Therapy.

Marc Hunter-Hall, MPT, Physical Therapist

Mr. Hunter-Hall spent 12 years performing in musical theatre including the Broadway production of Cats and the national tour of Oklahoma! He has served as Adjunct Instructor of Kinesiology at Columbia University and as Adjunct Professor with the Division of Physical Therapy at Long Island University. Mr. Hunter-Hall specializes in manual therapy and Pilates-based rehabilitation and is a clinical educator at the HCDI. He is the senior physical therapist at PT Plus, P.C. in City Center, and also owns a small practice, Encore Physical Therapy, that specializes in providing on-site care for the Broadway community.