Erika Kalkan is a physical therapist based in New York who specializes in dance-related injuries. She holds a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Temple University and is a board-certified orthopedic specialist. Dr. Kalkan was on staff at the world-renowned Harkness Center for Dance Injuries for several years and has worked backstage at numerous Broadway productions as well as provided on-site physical therapy for the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the Parsons Dance Company, the Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance Ballet, the Dance Theater of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico, Jessica Lang Dance, and SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance.
Continue reading about Erika here.
We asked Erika a few questions about her physical therapy practice and her advice for movers of all ages.
1. When did you decide to become a physical therapist specializing in treating dancers and athletes?
I decided to become a physical therapist after sustaining a serious injury to my knee while dancing in college. I had to take an entire semester off from dance to heal and feared losing my scholarship. I had gone to a number of physical therapists but no one was able to help me. I finally found a dance medicine PT who took my injury seriously and gave me the tools I needed to return to dance. I graduated with my BFA and began auditioning but knew that my interest was in PT. I wanted to work with dancers. I began taking my science courses immediately following graduation and went to PT school the following year. And now here I am, living my dream.
2. What do you enjoy most about being a physical therapist?
The most fulfilling part about my job is observing clients’ progress. It warms my heart to witness their expression when they stand up and move their body without pain. I also love instilling knowledge in my clients so they leave empowered and with a new perspective on how to keep themselves healthy.
3. How do you approach physical therapy and what are your specialties?
I approach healing from a whole body approach. I integrate Eastern, Western, and energetic modalities within my practice. My intention is to restore balance within whole system as quickly as possible and show clients how to maintain these changes and to prevent injuries in the future.
4. What is one major piece of advice you would like to share with clients in maintaining wellness and preventing injury?
Listen to your body. I love teaching people how to really understand and listen to their body so they care for their bodies properly.
5. What is your favorite dance movie?
Haha, good question. So many…Probably cheesy, but I just loved the movie Dirty Dancing as a kid. It’s an all-time favorite. And then newer faves: Pina and Black Swan.
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