Michelle Holmgren, Public Affairs & Community Relations Specialist
(Office) 413-967-2296 (Cell) 413-237-6743
Ware, MA (February 6, 2014) - Dance is a great outlet for creativity and physical exercise that can also build character and self-confidence. “Extremely popular among youth of many ages, there are many different types of dance classes to choose from including modern dance, ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics,” said Aiena Laya Bautista, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital. “As with any sport or exercise routine, dance can lead to overuse injuries.”
Dr. Bautista, who has been specially trained in the physical needs of the young dancer, now offers Enhance Your Dance, a program for young athletes that specializes in treatment of young and adolescent dancers. The program is a collaboration between the BMLH Rehabilitation Department and BMP-Quabbin Pediatrics, which evaluates and prescribes the correct type, frequency, and duration of exercises that will get the young dancer pain free and back to dance.
“Young dancers are not just artists but athletes as well,” said Bautista. “Many youth begin dance class at a very early age and quickly learn the discipline and physical demands of dancing.” Bautista, a dancer herself, danced from grade school right through her college years.
”The physical demands that are placed on young dancers through the repetition of practicing movements over and over often require extreme flexibility, strength, and endurance,” said Bautista who is now offers the comprehensive physical therapy program for the prevention and treatment of dance related injuries at the hospital in Ware.
“For teens, physiological changes that accompany rapid growth can lead to a youth being more susceptible to an injury,” said Bautista. "During a growth spurt, muscles and bones grow longer much faster than they grow stronger which can lead to imbalances. Dancers can also lose core strength and coordination as their center of gravity changes from growing, which can further increase the likelihood of injury."
“Because dance requires artistic expression and athletic performance, we work together with the dancer, family and dance teacher to help keep dancers healthy,” said Bautista. “It’s important that intervention and injury prevention be made available to dancers so they can address balance, strength and functional body control deficits as they grow. The confidence gained through achievements in dance help to build social skills and increase self-esteem, while having fun and exercising. I encourage children to keep dancing and exercising,” said Bautista.
“I have come full-circle,” Bautista said. “I went from being the dancer to being the one who makes sure the dancer can keep dancing!”
Aiena Laya Bautista, Doctor of Physical Therapy is a member of the Rehabilitation team at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital which includes doctoral level physical therapists, an occupational therapist/Certified Hand Therapist, speech/language/swallowing pathologist, and an audiologist. Together, they provide a full range of rehabilitation services to help patients regain function and achieve recovery. For more information about the Enhance Your Dance Program at the Baystate Rehabilitation Department at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital call 413-967-2180.