First dance injury clinic for NHS to open

Hip hop dancer Andry Oporia Hip hop dancer Andry Oporia goes through his moves

The NHS is opening its first specialist dance injury clinic, with hopes for others to follow around the UK.

It is part of a new National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science which is backed by several dance organisations and two universities.

The clinic will offer highly specialised treatment and rehabilitation services.

The institute also plans to conduct research into the treatment and prevention of dance injuries.

High rate of injury

Dance UK, the professional organisation for dancers, estimates that 80% are injured every year.

Start Quote

Some injuries are unique to dancers.”

End Quote Dr Roger Wolman Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Those who are part of an established company may get limited access to private healthcare, but the majority of dancers who are freelance rely on the NHS.

Dr Roger Wolman is one of the specialists who will run the new clinic at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London. He says there are some injuries which are almost unique to dancers.

"You don't see them elsewhere - in that situation a specialist clinic will be able to pick those injuries up very, very quickly and get them the right treatment."

Tolerating pain

Many within the world of dance talk about a culture of tolerating pain as part of the physical endurance needed. It can make it hard for dancers to know when to stop.

Andry Oporia's dance career has taken him around the world performing in everything from music videos to major dance productions.

He was on tour with the hip hop company Zoo Nation when a niggling ankle injury became intolerably painful. Andry had to leave the stage half way through a performance.

After five months without a clear diagnosis he saw one of the doctors involved in the new NHS service. Thanks to that treatment he is now back performing.

"It means the world to me. The doctors wonderfully got me back to walking in less than a year," he says.

The inspiration for the clinic comes partly from New York where the dance community has been able to access highly specialised care for more than 20 years.

Demand from dancers

Those whose careers have been ended by injury say this NHS service will be heavily used by freelance dancers.

Start Quote

Dancers dance on pretty awful injuries.”

End Quote Kate Prince Artistic Director Zoo Nation

Kate Prince was rehearsing for the Paralympic handover in Beijing when she landed badly, breaking several bones in her foot. She now concentrates on her work as the artistic director of Zoo Nation.

Most of the young dancers coming through the company's training programme will end up working as freelancers. Kate Prince says it is a ruthless industry.

"When you're injured they'll just find someone else - I know it sounds cutthroat but if you're the employer you just need someone who can go on and do the job. So dancers just do continually dance on with pretty awful injuries."

The clinic in London is the first of its kind, with the hope that another will follow for a similar service in Birmingham and then other locations in the UK.

Setting up a dance injury service is the first step towards the creation of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science.

It hopes to draw on expertise within the NHS and the dance world to create an international centre of excellence in the treatment and prevention of dance injuries.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Whilst I have evry sympathy with anyone including dancers who needs physiotherapy this does seem really OTT when the NHS should be directing it respources to much more pressing patient needs. Childrens' heart operating services spring immediately to mind and the threat of closure at "Jimmy's" in Leeds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    The negativity on here towards dancers amazes me! By being physically active all their life these talented individuals will cost the NHS less in the long run through reduced chronic illnesses associated with physical inactivity, so why shouldn't they be provided specialist care to enable them to carry on their career to earn money and contribute to the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Naturally this had nothing to do with the Ministry of Culture having a conversation over dinner with the Ministry of Health?

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Up to 17 soldiers a day commit sucide .Little oldies dying on trolley in E.D waiting for a bed..And you open a sports injury clinic..SHAME ON YOU.They should do what SQUADDIE familys have to do and set up there own charity and look after there own !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    there's already fracture clinics @ most hospitals why can't the injured dancers just go there it might save a bit of money without the need to open up costly specialist clinics' its all a bit daft,its all Labours fault this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    £8.8bn is spent by the NHS each year to treat type 2 diabetics who are poorly eductated about managing their disorder. Yet somehow there are funds available amongst cuts, for a dance injury clinic? Surely treatment of dance injury should be a private healthcare matter!

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Now we trully are away with the fairies!

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Day after day after day this imbecilic shower who call themselves a government claim they have a plan and use our taxes wisely, i pressume Cameron, Osborne and Landsley are going to don their tutu's and pop out to see a few people suffering with cancer and explain to them why we cannot afford better treatment for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Rather than spending money on treating dancers can't we ban dancing in public places, impose high rates of duty on dance related equipment and clothing, pay people to not dance and have dance danger public service broadcasts?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Does this mean dance companies are above the law? If you are employed by an organisation and you get injured as part of that job then they have a liability (unless they can prove otherwise!). Any dancer employed as such should therefore go after their employer if they get injured.

    Risk assessment is pretty poor in much of the showbiz industry so their employer would probably be on to a hammering.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    I presume that we have no greater health or money prorities, reached utopia and able to waste even more money have we????

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Would this be another new private company, care of Andrew Lansley, operating within the NHS, on NHS grounds, with NHS staff that these private 'care' companies don't invest in or train - just skim off tax-payer's long-term investment to produce highly qualified/trained staff looking to pay off their uni fees/loans.

    Dance, dance wherever you may be - I am the Lord Lansley to be?

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The dance injury clinic is equipped with a special device to free dancer's jaws from the permanent insincere and forced cheesy grin they seem to sport.
    Next they'll be opening a specialist clinic for fashion victims. . .

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Pointless subsidised pastime gets special facilities. Well olympics lot are the best graspers for such, I guess other want to junp on the band waggon.

    Health warning on all tutus dancing damages your body.

    Simpler solution do not do it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Dancers suffer from low pay and as they are reliant on their body to undertake their 'trade' they need specialist advice and treatement for the injuires they get, otherwise they can't work

    Insurance is not enough. They need access to someone who knows how to treat the type of injuries they suffer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Don't worry folks they wont be rockin' n' rollin' or break dancing.

    Dancing is a exorcise good for the body and it's muscles when done in the right context, whether be a Foxtrot or Charleston and on the other 'foot' a bit like lifting heavy objects.... there's a knack.

    Soon there will be lessons on the NHS how to stand and walk properly properly. Would this include Ballerinas?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.


    "...I wait with baited breath to see just how far this particular debate can degenerate. We're off to a good start..."


    That all hinges on whether someone can manage to relate it to the Death Penalty, EU, ECHR, immigration or the Human Rights Act.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Hope they wear those dresses like they used to have on the BBC's regional competition, Come Dancing. Perhaps it could be televised. 'And here is Nurse Ratchet, representing the Midlands, with her dress composed of bandages and 1000 sequins which she has sewn on all by herself'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    A slow day for news.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I work in the Demolition / Construction industry.
    Our mortality rate is only seconded by the military.
    It costs me £2.50 a week for public liability insurance (up to £10 million) and personal accident insurance.
    What are these dancers spending their money on?


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