A Chat With Physical Therapists about Performance Athletes

Welcome back to our Physical Therapy for Dancers Series! Today we are chatting, once again, with the Mims Method Physical Therapists about their experience working with performance athletes. 

If you missed our other interviews with Mims Method, you should know that these doctors work with Broadway’s dancers and performers from shows like Chicago, Back to the Future, and more! But, like Dancers Who Lift, the doctors at Mims Method serve performance athletes across the city. From concert dancers to acrobats to vocalists and more. 

Previously, they provided top-tier info about how to find a good physical therapist and spilled the tea on what they wished dancers knew. Today, we’ll learn more about them; why they love working with performance athletes, and what makes working with dancers different than other athletes. 

But enough from me, let’s dive in shall we?

First, let’s get to know our PT’s.


What/how/why did you start working with and focusing on performance athletes as a PT?


Drs. Dan Ginader and Chris Falciano both got their start working with dancers when they were hired by Dr. Brittney Mims, founder of Mims Method. So let’s hear a bit about her story, shall we?

Brittney grew up doing gymnastics and cheerleading and endured a severe back injury at just 15. This injury not only took her out of her sport but fully impacted her day-to-day life for years. 

When it came to her physical therapist for this injury, she wasn’t impressed, 

“Although the PT I went to was very nice, I typically left in more pain than at the start of the session. Hypermobility and teenagers were not his bread and butter. Flash forward to my junior year in college and I was still feeling pain. I was sent to another PT who totally changed my life and helped me become pain-free for the first time in years. It was so apparent how different my sessions were that I wanted to be a PT who actually worked. I switched all my remaining college courses and decided to go to PT school.”


During her doctorate, Brittney had the opportunity to work with Miami City Ballet on her final rotation.

“ I felt so fulfilled and challenged and I knew during that rotation I had to work with performers going forward.” 

And thank goodness she listened to this calling! Otherwise, Drs. like Chris and Dan may have yet to discover the joy of working with dancers – and superb dance specialists, like Kate Besong, might never have found her PT home. 


Like Brittney, Dr. Kate Besong struggled with injury as a dancer. 

“I had intense patellofemoral syndrome in both of my knees, which really limited my ability to dance as much as I wanted to. I did go to PT, and to my memory, they did have me doing stuff that was beneficial, but I was not very compliant with their plan simply because I didn’t understand how their exercises would allow me to have less pain with dance.”

Because of this, Kate’s mission with her clients is to teach them as they train so they understand how the PT exercises will impact and improve their ability to dance. 

As you can see, working with performance athletes is not just something this team “likes,” they have a personal connection to their work. They want to provide a service that was unavailable to them and ensure the longevity of performance athletes’  careers. 



personal training for dancers



What do you enjoy most about working with dancers?

 Okay, Okay, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of their commitment to working with performance athletes is simply because it’s FUN!

Each of these doctors confirmed that dancers are incredibly in tune with their bodies and – spoiler alert – we tend to be perfectionists. 

As Dr. Kate says, we “think by feeling.” This superpower makes performance athletes fantastic physical therapy clients.

Dr.  Christ agrees,

“Dancers are incredibly aware of every aspect of their bodies and can control subtle motions far better than athletes in many other sports. Add that to the fact that they tend to be genuinely interested in how different body parts (nerves muscles, etc) work together, and you’ve got the best kind of patient you could ask for.”


What might surprise you, however, is what they had to say about how working with performance athletes differs from regular athletes. 

Dr. Kate Besong loves the dancers’ connection to sensory memories and says it informs how she trains dancers, 

“I find that dancers respond so well to imagery and analogies. If I want them to have a better connection to their iliopsoas, I’ll show them a picture of what it looks like, show them where it is on their body and what it’s responsible for, and then give them an exercise that helps them feel that muscle. I try to paint a really bright picture so that they can access that memory again in the future.”


However, there is one major difference Dr. Chris mentioned that stood out to us here at Dancers Who Lift:

“Athletes in many other sports focus on strength training, particularly in recent years. Many of the dancers I’ve worked with have never performed strength and resistance training, which can be incredibly beneficial for injury prevention.”


Yes, in the year 2024 performance athletes are still lacking experience in strength training as a means of cross-training

Did you know that Coach Amber, our very own founder of DWL, got her start working in a physical therapy office? This is what inspired her to get stronger and started her on her journey toward creating Dancers Who Lift. 

So, if you’re a dancer struggling with injury, we highly recommend finding a physical therapist to help you through it (and if you’re in NYC check out Mims Method!). 

Then, once your doctor clears you, think about working with us here at Dancers Who Lift. We focus on teaching dancers the ins and outs of strength training and resistance training. We give you the tools to navigate any gym with confidence and approach any choreography knowing that your body has your back. 

Sound like something you’re interested in? Email us at dancerswholift@gmail.com or check us out on Instagram @dancerswholift. While you’re at it, give @mimsmethodpt  a follow too for more physical therapy tips for dancers!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *