Dance Medicine

Dance Medicine is a broad term that includes treating, healing and limiting recurrence of dance-related injuries.

 If you are a dancer, you know that there is a delicate balance of flexibility and strength required for this craft. For example, no matter how lovely your split is, if you don’t have power, you cannot translate that split to a beautiful grande jete. Conversely, you could have the strongest quads and hip flexors in the world, but if you don’t have length in your hamstrings, you can’t utilize that strength to hit a killer grande battemant.

Helping Dancers Get Back in The Groove

On top of that you need balance- balance on all kinds of surfaces that are still and moving, in the dark, and on one leg. You need coordination and proper strength (and footwear) to pointe your foot with long, not crunched toes. You need to turn on a dime… x10! You get the point. Dance requires so much and we are here to support you, whether you are a professional or if this is a recreational outlet for you.

Some common dance medicine related injuries we treat include the following: 

  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Stress fractures
  • Snapping hips
  • Low back pain
  • Shoulder instability
  • Muscle strains
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Ankle impingement
  • Labral tears


Some interventions associated with dance medicine include the following: 

Optimizing Biomechanics

Our Dance Medicine PT’s offer analysis of biomechanics unique to your dance background. We utilize this information to consider both how your biomechanics affect your current injury, how they put you at risk for future injuries, and additionally how to optimize your biomechanics to give you the best performance. If you are hearing the same corrections in class, like “deepen your plie, get your heels down on your landings, tuck your tail under, or don’t let your knees fall in,” we can help you with that. These corrections require an assessment of your range of motion, your strength, your core stability, amongst other things in order to master them. 

Develop a Warm up or Progressive Exercise program unique to your dance form

What does it mean to be “warmed up” for class to you? Is it that you feel well stretched out? Is it that you have broken what we like to call a glisten (aka sweat)? Is it that your glutes are on fire? We have very specific recommendations on what a warm up should entail and can help you to formulate this to get the most out of your dance class and performance opportunities. 

Connect you with other specialists needed for dancer health

This includes nutritional consults, orthopedic physicians, sports medicine physicians, acupuncturists, massage therapists, sports psychologists. 


Our dance medicine specialists bring an incredible depth of knowledge to your exam with credentials including the following: 

  • Board member of Seattle Performing Arts Medical group
  • Members of Seattle Performing Arts Medical group
  • Members of the International Association of Dance Medicine
  • Participants in Dance USA
  • Consultants for PNB
  • Guest PT’s for national and local tours


What to bring to your appointment: 

  • Clothes that allow us to see your body. This can include your dance clothes, shorts, sports bras, and yoga pants. 
  • Your dance shoes 
  • Your game face:)

Professional Service

I have struggled finding a physical therapist in Seattle who would be able to take on the multi-dimensional challenge of treating a professional ballet dancer coming back from injury. When I sprained my midfoot during a rehearsal onstage, I scoured Yelp until I came across Avant Physical Therapy, which caught my attention due to its prime location and nearly perfect reviews. Once I found out Laura was previously a dancer herself, I was sold. Right away she was able to evaluate the source of my problem and was ready to come at it from every approach possible. She would start each appointment with manual therapy and we’d spend the second half working my problem areas to the point of exhaustion – in the best way possible! I got noticeably stronger each week I worked with Laura. Other PTs I’ve worked with either relied too heavily on manual therapy OR exercises, but Laura is the only I’ve found to strike a perfect balance of both. I have recommended Laura to every dancer I know who is dealing with an injury. She is a positive, encouraging and intuitive person who will get you back onstage quickly, and in better shape than before. I owe the ongoing health of my ballerina feet to Laura!

Madison S.

PNB Corps de Ballet

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We make every effort to include your healthcare professionals and exercise specialists in a cohesive plan to promote your optimal outcome. We want to truly understand what drives you toward recovery.