Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine collaborates with Ballet Idaho

Posted at 2:24 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 22:19:48-05

BOISE  — Dancing in the professional company at Ballet Idaho is a full-time job.

"Their rehearsal days go Monday through Friday, Mondays is slightly shorter its 9:15 am to 5 pm, and the other days go from 9:15 am to 6 pm," said artistic associate for Ballet Idaho Anne Mueller.

There are only 27 weeks in a dance season, which is shorter than the average span for full-time jobs. Injury prevention is critical so they can stay active for the span of their season.

"Any time lost to a dancer during the season means that they'll lose performing opportunities, and in a career that's not particularly long, that's just tragic," said Mueller.

Students at Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine are keeping the dancers in tip-top shape, performing osteopathic manipulative treatments for the dancers every Monday.

"It's a set of hands-on techniques to help take out strain and dysfunction from the physical musculoskeletal system," said ICOM professor and OPP chair Dr. Dennis C. Rau Jr.

Under the supervision of instructors, first and second years, students take down dancer medical histories and perform quick screenings.

"It's great to have our students be able to put their hands on folks that are really relying on their neurology and physiology to get them through a training session in a week, get to the show, get through the show, so its a nice realistic environment for our students to train in,' said Rau.

Starting from the head and working down, students are assessing which areas need treatment.

"Those old injuries that are no longer symptomatic are often still there and are playing a role in whatever symptoms you're currently having," said Rau.

Dancers are already in tune with their bodies, but the students at ICOM are giving them an anatomical understanding of how each joint and muscle work cohesively.

"I think [it] is going to help them to work their ballet technique in a way that will help them to be healthier," said Mueller.