Subscribe to the podcast

Dancing Around Elephants , the DARE project,

with host Dr. Danelle Dickson - dancer turned physical therapist- features intimate conversations with dancers talking about the elephant in the room - Dance Injuries. We break down important information that dancers should know about injuries and how to manage them. These dancers discuss their experiences, struggles and triumphs in navigating some of the most difficult times in their career, with the hope of inspiring other dancers to be healthy, injury free and have successful dance careers.

We have our last convo with Terry Hyde, Pyschotherapist for dancers based in London. We talk about approaches to handling the stresses of dance, changes due to Covid-19, and tools for dancers to combat their issues, and how he is helping the dance world cope and move forward during this difficult time.

On this podcast, we talk a lot about physical injuries, but what about our thoughts, and how we feel? In this episode, I talk with Psychotherapist Terry Hyde, about how he has created a niche practice offering mental health services for dancers . Terry talks about his dancer journey and how he has created a practice that helps dancers with their mental health.

We continue our conversation with Dr. Amanda Olson, a pelvic floor physical therapist. We talk about her thoughts on the relationship of the medical world and patients regarding pelvic floor issues, how dancers can look for a pelvic floor physical therapist, and things dancers should be aware of regarding pelvic floor injuries and issues.

In this episode I chat with Dr. Amanda Olson, a pelvic floor physical therapist that has found her calling and passion through her own personal experience. We chat about the challenging events that lead her to explore pelvic floor physical therapy, and how this applies to dancers.

Felicia Avalos joins us for Part 2. We talk about the necessary evolution that dancers go through to evolve. We talk about her honest take on skin color in dance and her acceptance of that with race relations. We also chat about the the intersection of self acceptance, using our unique voice and stepping into the world as an artist. We end with Felicia’s sage advice on being true to yourself in your dance journey.

Felicia Avalos joins us for part 1 of our talk. We talk about her first injury with heel pain, and the importance of changing your training and self care as your body ages. We chat about her use of Muay Tai and Brazilian Jujitsu to complement her dance and artistry.

Get your pens and pencils out!! We continue Onieka’s refreshing take on dance injuries in Part 3 We talk about the resources she used surrounding her spinal injuries she gives her sage advice of finding the right medical provider that understands dancers. We also talk about her sage advice about taking care of your product - make sure you catch the quick fire round!

In part 2 we talk about how Onieka’s thoughts on how we can show up as your authentic self to become an intellectual asset and self-advocate to your product - your body. We also chat about the innovation and detriments that have come to the dance world because of COVID -19.

We talked about her dance experience coming to the US , standing out as a black, Caribbean woman in dance. We chatted about her first injury and how it connects with the business of the arts . We touch on the culture of hiding injuries and the detriments to dancers and their careers.We also touch about unionization that affords dancers protection in the case of injury.

Bill continues his story talking about his path in teaching, that came from a job that he didn’t get. He talks about his thoughts on making great teachers, and the importance of experience and expertise in creating great teachers.

Bill starts his first episode describing his very unique entry into the dance and broadway world. He also paints a very different experience than my other guests - he talks about being injured but not seeing medical help.

Akua Noni Parker continues her conversation about the things we rarely talk about as dancers - cross training, sleep, rest, and nutrition. She talks about how nutrition has affected her career and her love for it has evolved into @cookingwithku.

I had the honor of interviewing Ms Parker on the first stop on her last tour with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.. In the beginning of this interview, she goes over her beginnings of her 20 year dance career. She talks about one of her first injuries , where she had to miss a performance.

How do you deal with pain when no-one believes you? How do you deal with having a bad teacher ? Jennifer finishes off this episode talking about her back injury and her difficult journey to healing, without her support system believing that she was in pain. Jennifer expands on her thoughts of more education for dancers and dance educators, injury prevention for dancers and the psychology behind working through an injury!

Jennifer DePaola, Founder of DoctorsforDancers.com, joins us for Part 1 of her interview. She talks about her experience as a young dancer, and the care she received for an ankle sprain. She also talks about how teachers and choreographers can be held to better standards in teaching dance that is health conscious, and the need for different tools for parents to judge if a dance school is best for their child.

To kick off Season 2 of Dancing Around Elephants, I reflect a bit on where we are today - in the midsts of a pandemic - and how it has ushered a season of change. I discuss the revolution of thought that dancers should be going through regarding their injuries, and I extend a personal invite to dancers to start a revolution of their own.

In this last episode, I wrap things up in discussing all the stories you've heard for the past couple of weeks. I also go thru the top 3 persons you need on your dance team as a professional dancer to make sure you are successful in coming out on the other sides of injuries, and the importance of mental health in getting to the end.

If you know all the rules, then you know how to bend them! Maleek rounds up this last episode talking about the economics of dance. We talk about how dancers can make sure they are compensated for their time and talent, and discuss what is needed for the longevity as a dancer, choreographer, and as an artist.

Maleek Washington continues his story of overcoming a staph infection that threatened his dance career and life. Then he travels thru time to take us through his amazing comeback and his journey into becoming an artiste. He talks about his experience with Camille A. Brown Dance Company and the culture of support that is unique to his dance company experiences.

"Be vocal, you’re not the first to have this injury, they have seen this before." What happens when you fall into the grey area of being injured over and over again? You figure out new ways to move and become a master of your craft! That is exactly what happened with Maleek Washington

We go into the 2nd episode where Katherine talked about her knee surgeries and important nuggets to pass that time, and keep you mentally engaged. She also goes thru dance essentials for success, and why a ballet dancer needs more skills than just ballet to present a relatable conversation to the audience.

In this episode we get introduced to Katherine Horrigan, dancer, teacher, choreographer.. She walked us through the start of her professional career, and gives her sage advice on getting your foot in the door for professional dance companies.

In this episode I talk about why dancers need o speak up and foster better relationships with their medical providers and teachers. Placing these professionals on your team will only help to give you a career that has longevity and success!

We cover contract negotiations, job opportunities and the hidden talents that dancers have that makes them a key asset to others.

In this episode, we talk bout her gems about retirement and quality of life, and the way she has dealt with her new diagnosis.

Like most high level athletes , dancers devote extraordinary amounts of time perfecting their art. But what happens when your career ends? Zara talks about coping with difficult times, and trying to catch up with life  as it moves while you’re on stage. 

In this episode, we talk about some key differences between contemporary dance and Broadway that makes Broadway an animal of its own.

In this episode, Zara talks about a persistent injury that resulted in Joint Rejuvenation Surgery. She talks about her experience with surgery, and how she mentally dealt with having to stop dancing for 4 months.

In this episode, we get introduced to Zara Bartels, a dance prodigy that travelled from her small island of Trinidad and Tobago, to touch and master dance in 3 major continents, including the US.

Charlotte talks about her experience with this injury, things she learned, her US based teachers that had words of wisdom and the advice she has for dancers going thru this type of injury

Learn about how Dancing Around Elephants came about and what to look forward to. Also learn a bit about your host Dr. Danelle Dickson, her background in dance and why dancers should be called performing athletes instead of performing artists.