Kathryn Morgan Opens Up About Body Image in Ballet

Kathryn Morgan is an Athletes and the Arts Ambassador…

From Dance Magazine

Kathleen McGuire |

Kathryn Morgan is on a mission to change the dance field. The Miami City Ballet soloist and March Dance Magazine cover star appeared on the “Today” Show on February 27 where she openly discussed the challenges of body image and mental health in dance.

Two days later, Morgan took to her own YouTube channel to dig deeper on the subject. She shared with her followers that she had been recently removed from performing Firebird because of her body. We caught up with Morgan to learn more.

Read the full article here.

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Athletes and the Arts: Dancer Return to Play


By Becca Rodriguez Regner, DO

One of the unique factors that makes osteopathic sports medicine physicians great, is creating safe modifications for athletes to keep active and working around an injury. The return to play (RTP) protocol is created for concussion athletes–– football, basketball, and baseball athletes. RTP for the dancer should be the same mindset.

After diagnosis, an imaging and treatment plan is given to the dancer and they look to their company physician for ways they can still move, even if it is a single limb. It is the love in their hearts and passion to create a beautiful and artistic dance that drives their spirit. Most dancers want to keep working on flexibility and continue attending class/rehearsal to learn choreography. It is important for the osteopathic sports medicine physician to inquire about the number of hours the dancer is dancing per week in class, number of hours danced in rehearsal, and number of hours or how many performances/competitions they have per month. Many studios offer many types of genres of dance or cross training classes that dancers can participate in to keep muscles moving and for continued modified training. Utilize pilates, yoga, floor barre, swim, bike, and elliptical if possible in exercise modification. If safe, incorporate abdominal workouts, seated upper body weights or resistance training, and use of resistance band work where appropriate. Formal physical therapy is also important to add to the treatment plan to help improve range of motion, strength, and lower extremity proprioception. 

When the dancer is relieved of pain, inflammation and swelling, improvement in range of motion and strength, then functional training, can begin. The dancer will be anxious to get back into class and start marking choreography. A 25% intensity or percentage rule of NL schedule can be used to return a dancer to the stage. It is important with the dancer, like with any other athlete, to build back gradually into sport. The 25% rule allows the physician to direct care and give the dancer an outline plan every two weeks to increase intensity of work load by 25%, as tolerated. This allows for an eight-week gradual return to play into 100% full out performance. Of course, this 25% rule can be altered according to athlete healing and severity of injury. Lastly, it is vital for the osteopathic sports medicine physician to ask about any competitions or shows in the near future. Dancers, parents and company directors are appreciative when company physicians can help create goals for the dancer in returning to performance.

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Athletes and the Arts: Powerhouse Strength in Dancers


By Becca Rodriguez Regner, DO

The gluteal muscles exist for a greater purpose than looking amazing in a pair of jeans. In fact, the gluteals are the dream team. Let me introduce you to the MVP gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. In many athletes and especially dancers, these group of muscles get turned off and don’t fire properly to help the posterior chain work. The general functions of the three powerhouse muscles include extension, abduction, lateral (external) rotation, and medial (internal) rotation of the hip joint.

In dancers, the three gluteal muscles are important for hip extension (arabesque), abduction (lifting leg side), and external and internal rotation. The pelvis, including the lower abdominals and gluteals, are essential for stability and strength. For these athletic dancers, the gluteals give power to jumps and leg extensions. Basically, the hips contain a very powerful network of muscles. Understanding the gluteals can unleash power in dancers and also improve turnout.

In an article from the January 2019 issue of Dance Teacher, a physical therapist works with the Australian Ballet on gluteal strength for rehabilitation of injuries in all of the lower extremity. The PT notes that dancers think that in order to have a better turnout they have to under tuck which then locks down or clenches the gluteals. Many dancers also clench the gluteals in trying harder to accomplish a certain movement. A clenched gluteal muscle is stuck in a contracted place, turned off, and not able to contract and release normally. This disrupts the posterior chain and can have effects on the lower extremity joints with repetitive training motions.

The PT educates to unlock or unclench the gluteals with being aware of a certain posture and cross training with a few exercises. Dancers should think about the pelvis along a vertical axis and understand/imagine how orientation, alignment, and movement potential can change the way dancers work in class and dance onstage. The correct posture should be shoulders back and down and belly button to spine to hold in the core. The pelvis should point downward and not with under tucking to have a lean back posture and not to have pelvis tilt anterior allowing lumbar hyperextension (arched back). Please see below for suggested cross training exercises per the physical therapist from Australian Ballet to suggest to dancers to keep their gluteals firing for power and performance!

Exercise 1:

  1. Loop a resistance band around something stable, like a table leg, and your ankle. Begin in a kneeling position, with knees under hips and hands under shoulders, set up far enough away from the table leg so the band gently pulls your leg into internal rotation. Make sure it’s in a straight line from anchor point to ankle.
  2. In the kneeling position, work against the resistance of the band to externally rotate your leg and focus on turning the thigh bone in the hip socket.
  3. Maintain a long spine, head to tail, that allows for a natural low-back curve. Do 10-15 reps, be sure to keep the hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes soft, and to not tuck your tail under.

Exercise 2:

  1. Lie on your side, with your top leg propped up at hip level on a Pilates box or a couple of firm pillows, knee bent.
  2. With your bottom leg internally rotated, lengthen and lift your bottom leg up toward the ceiling, taking care not to slouch in your spine or collapse the underside of the rib cage into the ground.
  3. Lift your lower leg 10 to 15 times. Repeat on other side.

Exercise 3:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet at hip distance, in parallel. Float one leg up to a tabletop.
  2. Press the other footprint into the floor and float hips up.
  3. Lower your hips down and repeat 5 to 10 more times, trying to maintain a level pelvis. Repeat with the other leg.

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Is Ballet A Sport? Doctors And Dancers Think So

Comparing the athleticism of ballet dancers and football players: read and listen to this interview-based articleIs Ballet A Sport? Doctors And Dancers Think So—presented on IdeaStream.

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Sport Psychology and its impact on Performing Artists

Making Music

How Sports Psychology Benefits Musicians

Cherie Yurco

Between juggling rehearsals, performances, and a day job, you may feel you are under constant pressure as a recreational musician. Aside from the physical demands, your mental skills are put to the test. To cope, music makers may want to seek help from sport psychology consultants, known for assisting athletes.

Read the Full Article


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Athletes and Arts in the News

Read the article here


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2018 By Artists, For Artists Report Released

Announcing the Release of the 2018 By Artists, For Artists Report on
Massachusetts Artists of all Disciplines, Makers, and Creative Entrepreneurs

The Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) and Artmorpheus are proud to announce the release of the 2018 By Artists, For Artists report on Massachusetts artists of all disciplines, makers, and creative entrepreneurs. Artists and creatives play a vital role in the cultural life and creative economy of Massachusetts, and this report provides critical insights that will guide advocates and policy makers.

The 2018 By Artists, For Artists report synthesizes and shares the data collected from the survey of the same name conducted in 2017. The project was a collaboration between Artmorpheus and MALC. The 2018 report is dedicated to the late Liora Beer, the founder of Artmorpheus who passed away on March 2, 2018. Liora was one of the key initiators of the By Artists, For Artists project, and Artmorpheus was the nonprofit umbrella for the project.

The report can be accessed at:

In the words of Kathleen Bitetti, artist, co-founder of MALC, and Lead Author of the By Artists, For Artists report:

“The By Artists, For Artists project was a grassroots collaborative effort. We are very grateful to all the individuals and organizations who helped with this project. It also is fitting that the By Artists, For Artists 2018 report is dedicated to Liora and that it is being released in July, the same month marking the 10th anniversary of the founding of MALC. Liora was a co-founder of MALC and was also a member of the MALC Steering Committee.”

Both the By Artists, For Artists report and survey were based on the 2009 Stand Up and Be Counted project, the first-ever Massachusetts statewide survey of working artists of all disciplines. The online survey for By Artists, For Artists was developed by the original Stand Up And Be Counted team of artists and policy experts, in collaboration with other artists and creative entrepreneurs, municipal and state arts and economic development
agencies, and creative economy advocates. However, the By Artists, For Artists survey was expanded to include makers and creative entrepreneurs*, in addition to traditionally defined artists of all disciplines.

The significance of the release of this report has already been noted by key state agencies and legislators. “Supporting working artists is at the core of our mission,” said Anita Walker, Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director. “Getting a deeper understanding of their work and what they need to thrive in communities is a central goal of our strategic plan. ‘By Artists, For Artists’ will help inform our policies and programs so we can better support the artists whose work is the foundation for our cultural sector.”

“Tourism is often cited as the third largest industry in the Commonwealth,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development. “A major driver of tourism is our creative economy, which is supported by thousands of artists living and working everywhere in Massachusetts, from Pittsfield to Provincetown. Policy makers need data to prove the needs and the economic impact of these creative efforts. The By Artists, For Artists 2018 report will provide the information we need to help us make important decisions on how to best
support our artists of all disciplines and this important and vibrant sector of our economy.”

“The By Artists, For Artists 2018 report will serve as a legislative road map for broader policy discussions and development of legislation that best supports the needs of our artist community,” said Cory Atkins, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. “The report underscores the need to invest in our artists so that they have the means to express their creativity and enrich our lives with the work of their imagination.”

The 2018 report’s findings and recommendations will provide invaluable insight towards a shared understanding of how better to serve Massachusetts’ creatives and artists of all disciplines.

Six important insights that emerge from a comparison between the new By Artists, for Artists report and the earlier the 2009 Stand Up and Be Counted report include:

  1. The creative sector in Massachusetts is highly educated, something that was consistently reflected in both surveys. Nearly 87%of the By Artists, For Artists respondents and nearly 82% of the 2008 Stand Up and Be Counted respondents had a college degree or higher.
  2. For both surveys, the majority of the respondents were long-term practitioners of their creative practice, and the majority were long-term residents of the Commonwealth.
  3. Both surveys revealed that professional artists/creatives, even though they are highly educated, on average earn below 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or in most cases below $40,000.
  4. Close to 50% of respondents in both surveys had a business loss from their creative practice. Only just over 25% in both surveys reported they had a gain.
  5. In both surveys, 75% or more of those respondents who identify themselves as professional artists/creatives cannot or do not earn their living entirely from their creative practice.
  6. One quarter in both survey samples have gone without health insurance five or more years.

The By Artists, For Artists project was funded in part by grants from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. The final report, however, due to the loss of Liora, was produced by an all-volunteer team overseen by the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC). The members of the By Artists, For Artists Report Team were: Elisa Birdseye (MALC Steering Committee Member),
Kathleen Bitetti (MALC Steering Committee Member), Jill Carrier, and David Galiel. The entire design of the report, visual and navigational, was the creation of MALC Steering Committee Member Erin M. Harris.

The report can be accessed at:

Download the Press Release
*Artists of all disciplines- visual, literary, performing, craft, new media, digital, multi-disciplinary, etc.

Maker – an umbrella term for independent inventors, designers, and tinkerers. The maker movement is a convergence of traditional artisans and computer hackers. Makers tap into admiration for self-reliance and combine that with open-source learning, contemporary design, and personal technology such as 3D printers.

Creative Entrepreneur – set up as a for-profit or nonprofit business to produce a creative/artistic output, with the intent of building a financially profitable enterprise or sustainable organization.

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Work, Money Worries Leave Many Musicians Singing the Blues

Date: August 2, 2018


Work, Money Worries Leave Many Musicians Singing the Blues

Dell Med Researcher Identifies Key Factors Affecting Musicians’ Mental Health

Researchers from Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with the mental health-focused SIMS Foundation, have identified work and financial stress as risk factors that may increase clinical depression and anxiety among musicians, according to new study findings presented at the 36th Annual Performing Arts Medicine Association International Symposium in Orange, California.

A team led by Dell Med psychologist Lloyd Berg, Ph.D., analyzed survey results of 317 musicians in Austin, the “Live Music Capital of the World.” The musicians were from nonclassical genres including blues, rock, country, hip hop, folk and world beat and had received mental health services from SIMS during the previous two years. They answered questions about levels of job-related stress, financial worries, depression, anxiety and alcohol misuse. The study showed that compared with people who have lower levels of stress:

  • Musicians with higher levels of work-related stress were more than twice as likely to have significant levels of depression and anxiety, even when money concerns were accounted for.
  • Musicians with higher levels of job insecurity were more than five times as likely to be depressed and six times as likely to suffer from anxiety.
  • Musicians with higher levels of stress related to work relationships were more than 1.5 times as likely to report alcohol abuse.

This new study takes a deeper dive into specific factors affecting musicians’ mental health issues, adding to previous research showing that these entertainers are two to three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety compared to the general population and three times more likely to commit suicide.

“Musicians are often portrayed in the media as ‘tortured artists’ who intentionally embrace emotional suffering as a source of creative inspiration – or their lifestyles are glamorized as being untroubled and self-indulgent,” said Berg, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dell Med.

“But the truth is they struggle with lots of job stressors including unpredictable work opportunities, low wages and juggling multiple jobs just to survive,” said Berg, who is also a musician.

In the study, job insecurity included concerns related to being better known or better paid, lack of work and inadequate recognition of talent or success. Situations related to work relationship stress included conflicts with others in the music industry, worries about colleagues appearing at performances on time and having to fire another musician.

Building Awareness of Musicians’ Unrecognized Needs

This new research adds to a rather limited body of study dedicated to musicians’ mental health, an area that needs more focus from behavioral health professionals, Berg said.

“The results of this study put the tortured artist myth to bed, and hopefully directs musicians to address their mental health with interventions that address the unique stressors musicians face,” said Heather Alden, executive director of the SIMS Foundation, an Austin-based mental health organization that gives musicians and music industry professionals low- or no-cost treatment from providers who understand musicians’ unique stressors.

A 2018 national survey of more than 1,200 working musicians conducted by the Music Industry Research Association showed that more than 61 percent said their earnings from music performance were not enough to make ends meet.

Austin musicians share a similarly dire financial situation. More than two-thirds of Austin musicians surveyed reported “high” or “overwhelming” financial stress, and only 25 percent said they were satisfied in their music careers.

The Good News for Musicians’ Mental Health

Even though the links between musician life and depression or anxiety paint a relatively negative picture for music makers, there are some upsides to work-related emotional strain.

For example, higher levels of touring-related stress – such as from having to play after a long road trip or feeling lonely or bored while on tour – was associated with decreased levels of anxiety and depression symptoms in more financially stressed musicians. Berg suggests that’s because being on tour makes them feel like their careers are advancing.

Also, increased levels of performance-related stress – including auditioning, performing live music as a session player and coping with the effects of loud amplified music – were associated with a lower likelihood of alcohol misuse.

“The other good news from our own previous research is that contemporary musicians say when they do get mental health care from a provider familiar with health issues specific to musician life, they find the treatment to be satisfying and beneficial,” said Berg.

A greater emphasis on healthy approaches to work and building emotional resilience can help musicians keep on jamming.

For press inquires, please contact Heather Alden,, 512-472-1008.

Musician’s Stress Study

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