Dance, Physical Therapy and the ADAM (Analysis of Dance And Movement) Center, at the Brooklyn Campus have joined together to implement the first undergraduate Dance Wellness Program in the country. This is a four year program comprised of student assessments, private training sessions designed to meet specific health needs of the dance major, plus seminars and lectures on injury prevention and other dance related health issues. Intended to promote a healthy regimen unique to the dancer to ensure dancer longevity, the program focuses on cross training techniques that support proper anatomical alignment, healthy diets for dancers, and injury prevention care. After individual evaluation, which includes an annual dance screen comprised of a structural component (to rule out physical structural anomalies), muscular testing and aerobic component and a dance technique component, each student is provided with a profile of their actual physical strengths and weaknesses. This includes a technique critique to lay down the groundwork for maintaining proper anatomical alignment and a review of their dietary needs, emphasizing good nutritional habits. Based on the individual profiles, each student is assigned a series of exercises designed for application outside of the dance technique class and suggested diet.
In the fall the students have a group class twice a week to review all cross-training exercises, biomechanical concepts and basic anatomy. Each student also meets every two weeks with an assigned faculty member for a private session. During the twenty-minute private session, students are observed executing their exercises and receive immediate attention and feedback to ensure proper biomechanics. Students are encouraged to cite problems they may experience, to assess the perceived benefits, to ask questions and to keep a journal that summarizes all sessions and tracks the number of weekly executions of their profile that are made throughout the year as required. In the spring, the students continue to work with their assigned faculty member and the group class is alternated between Pilates Mat and Yoga for underclassmen, and Alexander and Feldenkrais techniques for upperclassmen.
Seminars on diet as well as injury prevention and treatment by guest lecturers and Brooklyn Campus faculty complement the physical assessment component of the program. Students also learn basic first-aid, acute injury care and basic taping techniques for various injuries. The Dance Wellness Program is designed to help students instill patterns for healthy lifestyles and to provide information for self-care, the interactive workshops establish guidelines for dancers to sustain long, injury-free careers.