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Nick Allen

  Nick is Clinical Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries – a centre of excellence specifically designed to pioneer the treatment and research into the cause and effect of dance injury.

Nick is from a primarily sports background and before joining the Company had never seen a ballet. His previous role was Head of Medical Services for Gloucester Rugby Club and he has also been a national squad therapist for the England Hockey team.
It may seem like a huge leap from the world of rugby to the world of ballet but Nick believes that caring for top athletes is no different from looking after ballet dancers and there should be no differentiation between dance and sports medicine.

After joining the Company the main thing that struck Nick was the dancers exquisite level of skill. They work to perfect their technique constantly and this used to be the main area they relied on for maintaining fitness through performance. Athletes on the other hand rely on a base of strength and conditioning, and work on improving their skill levels. As a result the Jerwood Centre is working with dancers to improve their overall levels of strength and conditioning base, as this combined with skill will result in a safe and effective performer.

Common injuries for dancers are generally on the lower limbs due to the stresses ballet places on this area. However, injuries sustained vary from dancer to dancer and on the nature of the production. At the Jerwood Centre the main approach is to constantly monitor the dancers’ progress and health; all the dancers visit and train in the Centre every day before the morning warm-up class.

The centre aims to:
• Conduct pioneering research into the prevention and treatment of dance injuries
• Create fitter dancers and therefore decrease the incidence of injury and enable more demanding choreography
• Provide holistic healthcare

The Jerwood Centre contains a wide range of facilities including an assessment and treatment area, a multi-station weights facility, a body conditioning area (incorporating Pilates equipment and techniques), a hydrotherapy pool, a plunge pool and a physiology laboratory. It is staffed by a dedicated team of health professionals including three chartered physiotherapists, masseurs, a body conditioning instructor, podiatrist, osteopath and visiting consultants.

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