NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth reports on Fort Worth researchers’ investigation into the health of female ballet dancers.

The Performing Arts Medicine Clinic at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is conducting research to understand why the dedication and sometimes sacrifice required to reach the professional level in ballet can impact dancers’ health, particularly their bone health. Dr. Yein Lee, the Performing Arts Medicine Fellowship Director at UNT Health Science Center, emphasized the importance of supporting dancers in maintaining their health and establishing a culture of wellness in the dance community.

Dr. Stephen Fung, a former competitive dancer and Performing Arts Medicine Fellow, noticed that stress-related injuries and fractures were common among dancers. He found that women dancers were particularly vulnerable due to a desire to maintain a specific aesthetic that often involves body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Bethany Bailey, a dancer and dance instructor at TCU, pointed out that while not all dancers experience an eating disorder, the prevalence of such issues has prompted many dance departments to focus on promoting a healthy mentality.

The research goals of the clinic include creating a self-assessment checklist for ballet dancers to identify their risk factors and stay healthy while pursuing their passion. This tool could also be beneficial for other female athletes looking to prevent injuries and promote overall wellness. Dr. Fung explained how important it is for dancers to prioritize their health and well-being while still striving for excellence in their craft.

By Aiden Johnson

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