Art and Sport Collide On The Dance Floor

Athletic trainer stretching the leg of a ballet dancer on a therapy table.

- 5/01/2018

Dancing is considered an art form, but it is also a sport that is not much different than more traditional activities like football, soccer and basketball. To dance well one must have flexibility, stamina, endurance and a passion for what she or he does.

The physical demands of dancers are significant. Athletic trainers Kathleen McGraw, ATC, and Matthew McGraw, ATC, with Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine know this well as they partner with Ballet Pensacola to support local dancers, helping them prevent and treat any injuries related to dance.

“The dancers at Ballet Pensacola are both incredible artists and athletes,” said Kathleen McGraw, ATC. “A key component of dance involves making the performance look as effortless as possible, and there is real athleticism behind that.”

The partnership between Ballet Pensacola and Andrews Institute has been in place since fall, 2011. “That relationship is key to making our jobs easier and taking care of these dance athletes,” said Kathleen McGraw, ATC. “We are thankful for the partnership between Ballet Pensacola and Andrews Institute.” 

Athletic trainers treat dancers the same way they do any athletes – by understanding the demands of the sport, knowing what dancers do in their choreography and being familiar with the style of dance. These are the same ways trainers familiarize themselves with other activities, such as the plays and demands of a running back in football.

“Ballet is very much like any other sport,” said Matt McGraw, ATC.  “Dancers get hurt just like anyone else. They are doing performances just like other sports have games. As athletic trainers, our job is to keep them on the dance floor. Their treatment is different from other sports activities, but the end goal is the same – to get them back out there performing and smiling.” 

Andrews Institute is here for the community and supports those who move. For more information, visit or call 1.850.916.8700 to schedule an appointment.