An unusual partnership has developed between the Tulsa Ballet and OU Tulsa's physical therapy program. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports it's a partnership that improves the health of the ballet's athletes and improves the therapy program at OU.
Like any professional athlete, a Tulsa Ballet dancer's full-time job is physically demanding.
"It's pretty much a 9 to 5, five days a week. The difference between our 9 to 5, as opposed to maybe somebody who works in an office, is we are literally jumping around and throwing each other all over a dance floor for eight hours a day," said dancer Joshua Trader.
To be their best on the dance floor, dancers like Joshua Trader must be in excellent physical condition. That's where Ken Randall and the OU Tulsa physical therapy program can help.
"It's really taking physical therapy and rehabilitation to the extremes," said Ken Randall, an instructor in the physical therapy program.
Randall and his students see Tulsa Ballet performers at least once a week. They work on existing injuries and they work to prevent future injuries.
"Because they're dancing eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, even more sometimes with performances, even the best athletes start to get aches and pains and so we're there to help them out," said Ken Randall.
Soloist Rene' Olivier is coming off a severe ankle injury.
"Basically what we're dealing with now is mostly scar tissue which you kind of have to break down and work through," said soloist Rene' Oliver.
The dancers get the help they need and students learn valuable hands-on techniques they may not experience otherwise.
"It's just a win-win situation for everyone," said dancer Joshua Trader.
Randall and his students also work backstage at the PAC during Tulsa Ballet performance weeks.