Performing Arts Physiotherapy is a stream of physiotherapy practice which focuses on the physical wellness of dancers and performing artists. We offer specialised dance assessments, treatment of injuries unique to performing artists, vocal physiotherapy services, and preventative care regimes to foster the overall health of the artist. Our treatment is provided by Marisa Wilson, an experienced therapist managing Melbourne’s professional dancers, performers and singers.

We treat all types of performing artists including:

  • Dancers (ballet, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, hip hop, tap, etc.)
  • Gymnasts
  • Pole & aerial artists
  • Singers
  • Actors
  • Musical theatre performers

Here at Connective Healthcare, we recognise the unique demands that dance and performing arts places on the body, and how devastating an injury can be. We understand the toll that missing training or performing ultimately has for the performing artist; accordingly, we aim to keep you engaged in your discipline, often in a modified capacity initially, right from the start of your rehabilitation journey. We work together (with you and your coach/dance teacher/choreographer) to build you back to the best version of yourself, in safe increments, using evidence-based techniques.

Every performing artist experiences an injury at some point in their training; we encourage you to positively utilise this journey to better understand your body and ultimately come back to your discipline stronger, wiser, and equipped with the tools to prevent further injury.

 

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Performing Arts Services

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Pre-Pointe Assessments

Commencing training en pointe is a very exciting time for the young dancer; however, if not approached with caution, it can potentially be a significant injury risk. It is important that every dancer is assessed by a qualified health professional and is equipped with the necessary tools to ensure their journey onto pointe is safe and considered. Our Dance Physiotherapist is an ex- ballet dancer herself and has helped hundreds of dancer’s transition safely onto pointe.

 

A pre-pointe assessment evaluates the dancer’s readiness to commence pointe-work. The assessment considers age, training history, pointe range, foot/ankle control, intrinsic foot and calf strength, core/pelvic control, and ballet technique. After the assessment, the dancer is typically prescribed exercises to improve the elements within the assessment which require improvement to ensure safety en pointe. The dancer is usually re-assessed 3-6 weeks after commencing their tailored exercise program.

 

After the assessment, a report is written to your ballet teacher as part of our collaborative decision-making process.

 

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Tertiary Dance Assessments

A Tertiary Dance Assessment is a standardised form by the Tertiary Dance Council, which is to be completed by a nominated health professional, as a requirement of the audition process for tertiary dance institutions (e.g. VCA or QUT). It takes approximately 30-45mins to complete.

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Dance Assessments

Our dance physiotherapist offers a thorough dance assessment for dancers who are interested in learning more about their bodies and improving their technique. Following the assessment, the dancer and physiotherapist can devise a tailored exercise program to improve the areas of deficit that were highlighted within the assessment.

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Dance conditioning programs

Our dance physiotherapist can devise a home dance-conditioning program tailored to your needs. These programs often come in handy when:

  • you’re on school holidays and need to keep conditioned when classes have ceased

  • you’re injured and cannot participate in all elements of class

  • you want to improve certain aspects of your technique (i.e. turnout range, flexibility, winging scapulae, etc.).

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Vocal Physiotherapy

Vocal physiotherapy is a form of physiotherapy treatment concerned with improving the efficacy of the voice through specialised assessment and treatment techniques. Like any other anatomical tissue within the body, the larynx and its surrounding structures are vulnerable to injury, particularly with overuse.

Our voice is produced via a complex relationship between vibrations of the vocal folds (sound waves), vocal tract articulators & resonators (tongue, soft palette, oral cavity, throat and nose), breath support (diaphragm, ribs and chest muscles), muscle tone surrounding the larynx, and posture. Vocal physiotherapy (also known as ‘vocal unloading’) seeks to optimise these mechanisms through specialised treatment techniques and neuromuscular retraining.

You may consider seeking vocal physiotherapy if you:

  • are a professional voice user (i.e. singer, radio host, voice-over artist)

  • work in an occupation with high vocal demand (teacher, call centre operator, auctioneer, etc.)

  • have noticed changes in our voice quality or effort

  • are experiencing discomfort or pain in your throat

Great service! I'm a sport man and have been here 3 times already due to a couple of injuries. Staff has been very kind and profesional. I really liked the way they followed up my recovery and mande sure I was going on the right track. Fully recommended.

Carlos

What do I wear for a pre-pointe assessment?

It is important to wear something fitting (i.e. leotard and tights) so that the physiotherapist can see all your muscles. Please ensure you have bare feet. Ballet shoes are not required.

How long does a pre-pointe assessment take?

The assessment will last 30mins. You may also opt to choose an extended session (1hr) if you wish to have your exercise session (your prescribed pre-pointe exercises) immediately following your appointment.

When should I book a pre-pointe assessment?

You should aim to book your assessment at least 2-3 months before your ballet class is due to commence pointe-work. This will give you ample time to complete the required exercises and gain the necessary strength for pointe.

What age should I commence pointe training?

It is very rare for dancers to be approved for pointe under 12 years of age. This is because the body is still skeletally immature and will not be able to withstand the demands that pointe places upon the growing body.

You may still come in for a pre-pointe assessment at age 11yrs (you can get a headstart on your exercises); however, it is recommended to commence pointe-work from 12 years of age.

What is involved in a pre-pointe assessment?

In the initial pre-pointe assessment, we will take a brief history to understand your training load, previous injuries, and your goals . We will then take a few measurements (e.g. pointe range, calf length, turnout range etc.) and have a look at a few movements (e.g. demi plie, rises, etc.).

It’s a very relaxed and interactive session; it’s nothing like your dreaded ballet exams! There are no pass/fail or ‘marks’ assigned. The sessions are designed to help you plan for future success and reduce injury. The assessment is NOT designed to focus on negatives or to stop you from going en pointe. We want to get you en pointe as much as you do!

What will happen after the assessment?

After the assessment, your physiotherapist will discuss the assessment findings with you and build a plan to help to improve the areas in need noted within the assessment. You will most likely be prescribed a set of home exercises to practise daily for the next 3-6 weeks. After you have completed your homework, we will then reassess you in the coming weeks.

Will I be able to get my pointe shoes straight after the assessment?

In most cases, the young dancer will need to work on several items prior to getting their pointe shoes. Typically, dancers need to improve their intrinsic foot strength (among other areas) as this is something that is not generally covered in your dance training at an early age.

How many sessions will the dancer need?

Most dancers will need to come back to the clinic for a subsequent session in order for the physiotherapist to prescribe their tailored home exercise program. Thereafter, the dancer will be reviewed again in approximately 4-6 weeks to assess whether they are progressing in the right direction. If the dancer shows improvement in their areas of weakness, the dancer will be awarded their pointe licence on their review session.
Sometimes dancers may need another few weeks (another session) to further progress their strength. This is nothing to worry about. We want to make sure you’re fully ready before commencing your pointe journey.

Note: Given that most dancers will need the subsequent exercise session following their initial assessment, it is a good idea to book an extended consult (1hr) at the time of the initial assessment if you want to optimise your time.

Will my dance teacher be informed of my plan?

Yes! We will send the report to your dance teacher via email (with your consent).

We Are Located in Bentleigh East

Our clinic is conveniently located on Centre Road in the heart of Bentleigh East. We are easily located from East Boundary Road.

718 Centre Road
Bentleigh East
Victoria 3165

Parking

Ample parking is available, on street (including disabled) or behind the clinic next to The East Boundary Hotel.

Wheel chair access is available at the rear of the clinic. Please notify reception if this is required.

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