Physical Therapist Andrea Zujko Helps Keep Ballet Dancers in Top Form
Andrea Zujko has always been involved in dance. After performing regionally throughout high school, she earned a scholarship to The Ailey School in NYC, where, in addition to performing, she volunteered at Westside Dance Physical Therapy and the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries.
Zujko earned her clinical doctorate in physical therapy at Northwestern University in Chicago and began working at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet, where she made contacts that led to opportunities to work with dancers on tour who passed through Chicago. She then moved back to NYC where she has practiced at WDPT for the last three years and at School of American Ballet for the past two years. She works with dancers of all ages and technical levels who are at various stages of their performing careers.
If You’re Interested:
Intern with a therapist before college to help you determine whether or not the field is right for you. Contact local dance physical therapists (or regular PTs if none in your area specialize in dance) to see if they offer volunteer positions or if they know of any clinics or larger facilities that offer internships.
Establish and maintain contacts. Not only are contacts important for finding jobs, but they are also helpful in gaining credibility and keeping up with changes within the world of physical therapy.
Gain experience for a larger market by working in a smaller market. There are more employment opportunities in areas that have fewer practicing physical therapists for dancers.
So You Know
Hours: 40-hour work week when dance companies aren’t in season, an extra 10 to 12 hours per month when in season.
Starting salary: Ranges from $45,000 to $50,000 and increases depending on the type of facility you work at.
Required Education: Both an undergraduate degree and graduate degree are required in order to practice. The graduate degree can be either a master’s or a clinical doctorate.
Additional Certification: “There is a national certification exam,” Zujko says, “but each state requires a specific score in order for you to be certified. Therefore you must apply for certification on a state-by-state basis.” In other words, if you move to a new state, you must reapply for certification. Typically, certification must be renewed yearly (though guidelines vary by state), which may include continuing education.
Daily Business: Working with patients, taking care of appropriate documentation, working one on one with doctors, and discussing costs—and any other issues that may arise—with insurance companies.
Kelly Mezzatesta, a recent graduate of DeSales University, is a freelance writer currently living in Connecticut.
School of American Ballet students (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)
Do you have a "Strictly Ballet"–sized hole in your heart? Good news: The upcoming docuseries "On Pointe" just might fill it.
The School of American Ballet is teaming up with Imagine Documentaries and DCTV for the project. Though it's not yet clear where "On Pointe" will air, we do know that it'll follow talented SAB students preparing for professional ballet careers—much as Teen Vogue's popular "Strictly Ballet" web series did back in the day. But "On Pointe" marks the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed access to the school, and it sounds like it'll paint an even more complete picture of the dancers' lives inside and outside the studio.
Choreographer Bob Fosse's signature style—with its jazz hands, inverted knees, and slouched shoulders—is still a huge influence in the dance world (and, thanks to the gloriously dancyFX series "Fosse/Verdon," the TV world). But while you know to expect plenty of Fosse-isms during a stage performance of Chicago or Sweet Charity, Fosse's legacy has also seeped into pop music culture, inspiring the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Here are just six of the many music videos that reference Fosse's iconic works.
Gabrielle Hamilton in John Heginbotham's dream ballet from Oklahoma! Photo by Little Fang Photo, courtesy DKC/O&M
Last night, longtime theater legends (including Chita Rivera herself!) as well as rising stars gathered to celebrate one of Broadway's danciest events: the third annual Chita Rivera Awards.
The evening paid tribute to this season's dancer standouts, extraordinary ensembles, and jaw-dropping choreography—on- and off-Broadway and on film.
As usual, several Dance Spirit faves made it into the mix. (With such a fabulous talent pool of nominees to choose from, we're glad that ties were allowed.) Here are the highlights from the winner's list: