MURRAY HILL, Manhattan - A serious injury can mean the end of a career for a professional dancer, and coming back to work after getting hurt can be challenging and time consuming.
Now, there's a facility in Murray Hill that offers hope.
The Harkness Center for Dance Injuries is dedicated to getting dancers back on their feet after potentially career-threatening injuries, and clients include Broadway stars and world famous ballerinas.
Chyrstyn Fentroy's childhood dreams were realized at the Dance Theater of Harlem, but she knows one false move could end her career.
"It's a physical art form, so it's similar to a sport where people get injured all of the time," she said. "All you have to do is step the wrong way, and something bad can happen."
In her case, it was too much wear and tear over time.
"When I was dancing, I was having a lot of pain," she said. "So whenever I'd go up on my feet...and my big toe would bend up this way, I'd have pain back here."
So she turned to Harkness.
"They're trained in working with dancers," she said. "And I feel like every question that I have that is dance related, they can always give me the answer that I'm looking for."
Posters with signatures from grateful clients signal it is not your typical doctor's office.
"We see from the beginning student dancer all the way through to people who are dancing on Broadway in their 90s," medical director Dr. Donald Rose said.
The facility is part of NYU Langone Medical Center and is the brainchild of Dr. Rose, a surgeon.
Addison Ector, of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, suffered a fracture to his left leg. A couple of operations were followed by four months of rehab.
"They inserted the rod, the metal rod, down my tibia," he said. "She really kept me positive and kept me going, to really get me to the end result of getting me dancing again."
It's an undertaking that is appreciated by those helping artists pursue their craft.
"To take these people who dedicate their entire lives from a very early age to dance, and bring them to where they can continue and expand their horizons in dance is very, very gratifying," Dr. Rose said. "And that's what we do it for."
The highly specialized care is available to any dancer, and Harkness accepts insurance and offers financial aid to those who lack coverage. The staff offers free one-on-one counseling to help performers prevent injury, and also holds workshops at dance schools to teach young people how to perform safely.
For additional information, visit Med.NYU.edu/hjd/harkness.