Magazine article Dance Magazine

Damage Control

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Damage Control

Article excerpt

Although all dancers know the importance of warming up before a class, rehearsal, or performance, professional dancers in Broadway shows, according to a survey by Louis C. Galli, D.P.M., are neglectful of this vital precaution. Galli found that Broadway dancers sustain injuries primarily caused by little or no warm-up, fatigue, and the fact that female dancers are sometimes required to dance in shoes with high heels.

Broadway dancers perform eight shows weekly--on steps, on both flat and raked surfaces, and in different heel heights, from flat to four inches. They may be doing choreography that incorporates ballet, jazz, tap, and modem dance all in the same performance. In addition, they perform with intensity for a short period, rest, and then return to the stage as many as five or six times throughout the evening.

Galli's frequent treatment of injured Broadway dancers led him to conduct a two-year survey (see graphs) that included the casts of Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Les Misgrables, and other shows. "There is a distinct correlation," says Galli, "between injuries and the lack of preperformance warm-up or classwork. In more than one hundred twenty-five questionnaires gathered from show dancers, injuries range from lower back pain to ankle sprains, causing missed performances from one show to three weeks."

If the show does not remain stimulating through rehearsals and changes in cast, a low level of interest in the performance is fostered. …

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