What is Dance Medicine?

Dance Medicine is a branch of health care, scientific research, and strength/conditioning specifically tailored to the needs of dancers. Our Dance Medicine Program is dedicated to the health, education, training, and performance of dancers and dance educators in the greater Portland area. Our goal is to help dancers improve performance through injury prevention and rehabilitation. Our team combines an artistic appreciation of dance with a scientific understanding of athletic performance. We understand the demands of dance and how to help dancers stay flexible, strong, and injury-free.

What makes our dance medicine program effective and unique:

  • We have decades of dance experience: We understand well how a dancer relies on the body to be an instrument of expression, as well as the physical demands involved with this artistic pursuit. Dance Medicine Program Director, Kester Cotton, PT, DPT, was an esteemed professional dancer for nearly fifteen years and draws from his background to create a particularly effective program. All treatment team members have years of experience working with dancers.
  • We keep ourselves current with the scientific literature: Experience alone is not enough; our program is also based on scientific research. This is important because every dance educator (no matter how successful or experienced) has their own innate biases and preferences. Drawing from research helps create a program that limits personal bias by drawing from findings in peer reviewed scientific studies and scholarly articles. In other words, we utilize evidence, not just experience.
  • We value each dancer’s kinesthetic sense: We respect that dancers tend to have keen awareness of their bodies, and know quickly when something isn’t right. Therefore, we involve dancers’ impressions of what is wrong and involve dancers’ own ideas in creating individualized programs.

Finally, we understand that dancing isn’t something that a dancer does, rather, it is fundamentally part of who they are. Therefore, it is rare that we will examine a dancer, identify an injury, and simply tell them to “stop dancing.” If the dancer’s goal is to get back in the studio and get back on stage, then that’s our goal, too.