Reflections on IADMS

By: Mandy Blackmon PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT

October was a busy month for Emma and myself! As most of you know, our primary clinical interests are dancers and performing artists, thus our partnership with Atlanta Ballet.  Both of us are involved in multiple organizations related to physical therapy for dancers.


The International Association of Dance Medicine and Science has members from all areas of healthcare that treat dancers, including MDs, DOs, PTs, athletic trainers, nutritionists, and others.  They hold their annual meeting in North America every two years.  This year, Emma and  I were both honored to speak at the conference, representing Motion Stability, Atlanta Ballet, and Mercer University. Emma partnered with our former Emory PT student, Tiernan Damas, PT, DPT and presented on “Novel Taping Techniques for the Foot and Ankle in High Level Ballet Dancers: Techniques Across The Rehabilitation Continuum From Acute Injury Through Return To Performance.”  Emma is very creative and has experimented extensively with taping and shoe modifications to treat our dancers, amateurs and professionals alike. Their talk was extremely well attended and she received great feedback. I spoke with Val Schonberg, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, NCMP.   Val is a Dietician specializing in dancers and aesthetic athletes and has just recently moved to Atlanta from Minneapolis.  The Atlanta dance community is so lucky to have her here. We collaborated on a talk entitled “When ‘healthy’ eating goes too far: implications for injury and illness in dancers.”  There can be many challenges to dancers receiving adequate nutrition, including knowledge, access, finances, and eating disordered behavior.  Our interdisciplinary topic also received excellent feedback.


Emma and Tiernan before their presentation.

Emma demonstrating some of the taping techniques presented at IADMS


Val and Mandy with their presentation




Emma and I are also members of Dance/USA’s Health Dancer Task Force.  Through our involvement with this organization, we have participated in their pre-season, post-hire dancer screen at Atlanta Ballet.  Data was collected by 15 professional companies and presented by Heather Southwick, PT at Boston Ballet.  This screening process gives our dancers access to healthcare and injury prevention that they may not otherwise seek out. Additionally, we are now collecting data on injury incidence and prevalence in the company in an effort to better treat these artists. It is an honor to network and collaborate with other dance medicine professionals through the Task Force, as we get to meet with this fabulous group at least twice a year.


I am also the Screening Chair for the Performing Arts Special Interest Group, which is a sub group in the Orthopedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.   Our group was one of the sponsors for the IADMS conference and we had 7 of our leaders from all over the country in attendance.  See our fabulous picture below.



Lastly, some of the vendors we met at the conference were promoting products that Emma and I both believe will be beneficial for our dancers.  Apolla Performance and MDM Performance Dancewear have socks and shoes that made both of our aging dancer feet look and feel fabulous!



In short, Emma and I both feel very fortunate to network, learn from, collaborate with, and teach other dance medicine professionals.  We are looking forward to continuing these projects and hopefully we will be reporting after the meeting in Helsinki, Finland this time next year! Thank you to our dancers and dance professionals for allowing us to be your provider of choice for performing arts PT!.



Photo Credits: Synapse Photos (cover photo), Mandy Blackmon and Emma Faulkner

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