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The Gift of the Arts

Post By: Mandy Blackmon PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT

February 2015 has seen my dream become a reality.  In the first 2 weeks of the month, I will have seen six live performances; “Tuck Everlasting” at the Alliance Theater, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Snow White” with the Company and Fellowship dancers at Atlanta Ballet, Alvin Ailey on tour at the Fox Theater, and Several Dancers Core at Callanwolde.  When it comes down to it, I am a fan first.  I am a fan of dance, of performing, of expression, and of music.  It is my honor to also treat these talented and physical beings.  I get as much joy out of watching my 12 year-old patient perform as Clara for the first time in “The Nutcracker” as I do watching my principal dancer perform a lead role in “Romeo and Juliet.”

I am privileged.  Privileged as a human being and privileged as a physical therapist, to surround myself and have the opportunity to treat actors, musicians, dancers and artists.   I began dancing at age 3, but decided to venture into medicine and physical therapy at age 14.  I continued to dance and worked with the advanced theatre troupe through high school.  The power of artistic expression has always been integral to my journey as a healthcare professional.  My mentor asked me in 2006, one year after graduating from Emory, “What is your passion?  What is your long-term goal?”  With very little time to think, I answered truthfully: “I want to be the dance-medicine therapist in Atlanta.”  Nine years later, here I am.  I have mentors and colleagues around the globe.  I am honored to serve as the Membership Chair of the Performing Arts Special Interest Group of the Orthopedic Section of the APTA.  I am an active member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science and had the opportunity to present a case study with one of my students in Seattle last year.  I’ve toured with Sugarland, treated “Peter Pan,” “Hair,” and “Rock of Ages.”  I get the chance to work with adolescent and professional ballerinas, musical theater performers, and Irish step dancers from all over Atlanta.  Motion Stability just recently partnered with Atlanta Ballet.  I am proud to say that we are the official physical therapy providers for the Company and are on-site to serve the students and their families at the West Midtown Michael C. Carlos location.

What a life I have.  I am so blessed, by my dancers, but also the patrons that support the arts in this city and around the country.  I encourage you to buy a ticket.  Attend a concert.  Go to a show that makes you a bit uncomfortable.  Watch these people use their bodies to tell you the stories of your life. These artists are bearing their hearts and souls.  They push themselves to the limits daily.  Support them.  Love them.  Clap and cheer for them.  Be a fan. My hope is that they bring as much joy to your heart as they do to mine. My dream is to care for them so they can inspire you.  #supporttheartsATL

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