Healthcare at Birmingham Royal Ballet
Birmingham Royal Ballet's Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries is run by the Company's medical team, including physiotherapists, masseurs and a body conditioning instructor. Housed in the Birmingham Hippodrome complex, it contains state-of-the-art diagnostic and fitness equipment, including a hydrotherapy pool where dancers can work safely on their injuries while being supported by the water.
Nick Allen is Clinical Director at the centre. 'One of the key aspects of our approach is that we work as an interdisciplinary team,' he says. 'For example, Jennifer Mills, our Body Conditioning Instructor, is a former leading dancer with the Company, whereas myself and the other physios on the team have backgrounds in sports medicine and pilates.
'All of our work is done within a framework of a wider medical team,' explains Nick, 'and the analysis of our results show a significant reduction in the number of injuries in the last few years.'
This medical provision also includes nutrition, sports psychology and podiatry, making up a comprehensive spectrum of long-term care for the dancers.
'The centre is extending dancers' performing careers, without a doubt,' says Company Director, David Bintley. 'The work they do in rehabilitating dancers is fantastic, meaning that we can get people back on stage sooner, without risking them in the long-term. Equally important is the preventative work that the staff do to monitor long-term problems and strengthen the dancers' bodies against future injuries.'
'In dance,' says David, 'like sport, the bar is raised every year, so dancers are required to be stronger, and with greater stamina and control. The centre is a great environment, containing everything that you could wish for - there's just none better.