Dance Injury Prevention Programs

At NYU Langone’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, we use our experience managing dance-related injuries to educate dancers about how to avoid injury and stay healthy. We accomplish this through programs and services that focus on assessing your risk of injury and diagnosing injuries at their earliest and most treatable stages.

Athletic Trainer and Dancer

The success of our injury prevention programs has been proven on the most famed stages in the world. Not only have our experts protected and lengthened the careers of talented performing artists, we have given these dancers—and the professionals who train and care for them—the confidence and ability to accomplish their greatest professional goals.

Contact Us

Appointments are required for all injury prevention services and programs listed below. To make an appointment, please call 212-598-6054 or email harkness@nyulangone.org.

Injury Prevention Assessment

The injury prevention assessment program offers a free evaluation that aims to prevent dance injuries before they occur. You meet with an athletic trainer or physical therapist who observes your dance technique, evaluates your strength and flexibility, and reviews your medical and nutritional history.

Dancer Has Dance Assessment

At the end of the assessment, you receive an individually tailored exercise regimen with recommendations for technique modification, training strategies, and footwear that can reduce the risk of injury. Assessments are conducted by licensed clinicians and are available at different times during the week.

Injury Prevention Lectures and Workshops

Injury prevention lectures and workshops address all aspects of injury prevention, including cross-training, warm-up techniques, nutrition and hydration, pointe readiness, and environmental safety.

These offerings can be tailored for varied audiences, including dancers, producers, teachers, parents, company managers, and healthcare professionals. To schedule or inquire about a workshop for your organization, please complete our information request form and email it to harkness@nyulangone.org.

Harkness Center Healthy Dancer Initiative

The Harkness Center Healthy Dancer Initiative, launched in early 2018, provides subsidized movement sessions and free wellness workshops to professional dancers who have financial need. The program aims to encourage a sound, holistic approach to self-care and aid in career longevity. To achieve these goals, Harkness Center is partnering with the Mark Morris Dance Center, Gyrotonic® Manhasset, Rioult Dance NY, and Gibney. Click on each partner organization to learn more about application details and deadlines. Applications for Gyrotonic® sessions are accepted on a rolling basis. Dancers will be accepted on the basis of financial need.

Raked Stage Seminars

Raked stage seminars provide performers with information on how to work safely on nontraditional dance surfaces. These may include a raked, or angled, stage, as well as hard, soft, hot, cold, or wet surfaces. Information about working safely in other performance settings—such as on a ceiling, in a pool, or in the air while using a harness—is also provided.

Land Safely Program

Ninety percent of traumatic injuries in dancers occur during a jump landing. As part of the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries’ land safely program, we evaluate a dancer’s risk of injuries such as ankle sprains and knee tears due to misalignment during a jump landing. This program is used to assess the biomechanics of a dancer’s jump landing in order to identify his or her specific risk of injury and determine which exercises can be used to improve landing performance.

Pointe Readiness Program

Ballet dancers are typically considered ready to use the pointe technique, which requires toe shoes, at 12 years of age. However, musculoskeletal maturity and motor skill development vary greatly. The Harkness Center for Dance Injuries’ pointe readiness program consists of a series of dynamic tests. These can provide an accurate estimation to parents and dance company leaders of a youth’s readiness to safely begin pointe work.

Annual Health Screenings

We provide annual health screenings to dance companies and theater and entertainment organizations. Each performer receives a full, activity-specific functional movement evaluation, individualized report, and instructions on how to address his or her particular health risks.

The consulting organization receives a summary report that identifies the dancers’ overall risk of injury. We also provide suggestions on ways to keep dancers healthy that can reduce the organization’s costs in the long term.

Ergonomic Evaluations

Ergonomic evaluations identify risk factors associated with the physical and psychosocial aspects of the dance environment. Equipment modifications and training recommendations are provided.