What is a Dancer Health and Movement Screen?

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Not interested in the read right now? Watch this 3 minute video of Jenna explaining what you can expect in a dancer health and movement screen.



A dancer health and movement screen is designed specifically for the dancer and keeps in mind the many demands of dance--aesthetic, physical, mental, and environmental. The goal is for the dancer to be able to enhance their individual movement performance as well as minimize their risk for injuries. At Art of Motion Physical Therapy, the screen is 55 minutes and begins first with a comprehensive dialogue with the Physical Therapist to understand the dancer’s unique needs. Some topics discussed are the number of years in dance, types of dance, number of class or rehearsal hours per week, dance conditioning regimen, any health conditions or previous injuries, dance movements that are challenging, and any dance specific goals. Although this is only one portion of the exam, it is an ESSENTIAL piece of the assessment and can help guide which additional components should be added to tailor the screen to the individual dancer’s needs.


The movement section of the screen includes specific tests to understand how efficient the body is working as a whole, which areas may be vulnerable to increased stress or strain, as well as how the specific muscles are performing when it comes to strength, endurance, and control. This includes a mobility assessment to identify which body parts are relatively stiff and would benefit from mobility exercise vs which parts are relatively loose and can benefit from stability drills. Another component is functional testing which involves both dance specific movements as well as movements that mimic dance vocabulary such as turns, jumps, plié, and elevé to name a few. All of these tests can help pinpoint any imbalances on one side of the body in comparison to the other that may make the body vulnerable to injury.


Turnout assessment is included in the screen. The total amount of turnout available is examined which is unique to the individual’s body structure. Proper use of the turnout muscles are an important part of dancer hip health and the dancer will learn how to find these muscles, activate these muscles, and learn exercises to strengthen these muscles.


So who can benefit from a dancer screen? Any dancer! But here are some examples:

A dancer who...

  • has recovered from an injury and is ready to transition back to dance

  • is curious about movement imbalances in their body

  • wants to understand their individual body better and identify ways to improve conditioning and movement efficiency

  • is starting pointe work for the first time and would like specific strengthening exercises to support this transition

Interested in learning more about a dance screen? Contact Jenna at jenna@aomphysicaltherapy.com


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DISCLAIMER: Please note the information on this website and blog is for informational purposes only and should not be mistaken for individual health or medical advice.  For individual advice and before trying exercise, please see your local healthcare provider.