After almost six months of being away from The Joffrey Ballet and all of the dancers, there was finally a plan in which I can return onsite in my role as a Performing Arts Physical Therapist to safely provide care to them. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about returning. This day almost reminded me of first-day-of-school jitters. Our jobs are already high stakes and high pressure, but now a deadly virus has been added to the mix. We must be careful and mindful in everything we do that could risk our own or our dancers’ health. So before I get into how the return to studio unfolded, let me back up and explain the many months of preparation that went into this possibility turned reality of going back to help The Joffrey Ballet.
Co-author: Derrick Agnoletti, Joffrey Ballet Company Dancer
The majority of the country has adopted shelter in place policies, which means many of our daily routines have been disrupted. For Joffrey Ballet dancer Derrick Agnoletti, this means being unable to attend daily ballet class and rehearsals with his colleagues. As a physical therapist, I am adjusting treatment sessions in order to continue to connect with patients safely. Here is some advice for dancers who are similarly adjusting to training at home.
As an Athletico physical therapist, I have been supporting The Joffrey Ballet for more than five years. I usually work with the dancers while they are rehearsing and performing in Chicago, where my job is to triage, evaluate and treat issues that may arise from their rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule. Recently, my career with The Joffrey Ballet took me beyond Chicago, when I traveled with the company to three different cities across the country. We started in snowy, cold Minneapolis for two performances of a full length ballet called Anna Karenina, then off to Santa Barbara for two mixed repertory shows, and finished with one final performance in San Diego.
Aaron Renteria, Joffrey Ballet Company Dancer
Athletico is proud to be the Official Provider of Physical Therapy for The Joffrey Ballet for over 20 years. Through this partnership, our physical therapists are onsite throughout rehearsals and performances, including the busy Nutcracker season, in order to keep dancers healthy and performing to the best of their ability.
As the lead physical therapist with the Joffrey Ballet, Athletico’s Jennifer Janowski has come to equate working with dancers to working with family, as she spends quality time with the dancers while on tour for a performance. Janowski looks forward to the moments right after a show ends when everyone has a chance to relax, grab dinner together, and come off the adrenaline high from the performance, sharing stories from the day. But to get to this moment of reflection and relaxation, a lot of hard work and preparation needs to take place for both the dancers and their physical therapist. (more…)