Speaker Biography

Margo J Apostolos

University of Southern California, USA

Title: Trauma no drama: Care and treatment of dancers

Margo J Apostolos

Margo K. Apostolos, PhD. is the Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Cedars-Sinai/ USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center and Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Southern California. Apostolos earned a PhD in Physical Education with a Philosophy minor a Stanford University, MA in Dance from Northwestern University, and BS in Physical Education with a Dance minor from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Her practiced based work in training dancers and athletes spans over forty years including numerous Olympians and professional athletes. In addition, Apostolos pioneered work in the development of Robot Choreography and was awarded a prestigious NASA/JPL Faculty Fellowship for work in space telerobotics. She works with both humans and robots.


Dance Medicine, similar to Sports Medicine, treats the specialized needs of dancers.  The art of dance parallels sport with the human body as the vehicle for performance.  While the aesthetic of dance differs from sport, dancers train differently than athletes and often periodization is not implemented in dance training. As the performances near, rehearsals often increase at full speed.  Overtraining becomes a common cause of dance injuries but the choreography makes dance ever so risky. The choreography of today places new demands on the dancers.  The inclusion of aerial maneuvers, acrobatic work, and elaborate set designs raise both the risk for injury and the nature of those injuries.  Aerial work and acrobatic maneuvers are included in both concert and commercial performance.  The dance environments have become spectacular from Las Vegas stages, film special effects, and the raked stages of opera houses. Similar to athletes, dancers are not at risk for traumatic injuries. At the Dance Medicine Center, we have seen traumatic injuries resulting from both choreography and the dance environment. The needs of the dancer are different than the athlete.  It is critical for the medical community to understand dancers especially in care, diagnosis, and treatment. This presentation will feature a case study of a traumatic dance injury documented from onset to recovery.  In addition, video links of current choreography will provide orthopedic surgeons an insight into the world of dance today.