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Meet Bob Turner, Dancer & DPT, LAc

Learn how Bob translated his passion for dance into a career in physical therapy

I have been taking things apart and putting them back together for as long as I can remember as a farm kid.  Dance found me when I was 18 years old, after suffering from a back injury while training in a Vocational-Technical High School for agricultural mechanics.  I landed in physical therapy and began to experience relief from pain I had for 4 years.

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Near the end of my treatment, my therapist encouraged me to join a gym to get stronger. I hated it! My mind fought with my body the entire time and now I was having headaches and feeling discouraged. I mentioned to my sister that I felt “my mind was working against my body” and I needed to find a way to get them to work together. She recommended I have lunch with her friend who was a jazz instructor. She suggested that I start with ballet as it would give me the training I would need and then could move into other dance forms if I wished.

My first ballet class was at Ithaca Ballet.  Philip greeted me at the door and told me he would show me around and take class with me.  He was such a beautiful dancer and had himself only been dancing for a year.  The beauty of how everyone’s bodies moved in class was mesmerizing and I fell in love with ballet immediately.  I started in an adult beginner ballet class and before I knew it, had joined the company and was taking class and rehearsing 4-6 hours daily.  Weekends were even longer.  My mind integrated with my body and while I had pain from dancing, those were growing pains that opened me up to my future!  

Several years passed and I did whatever it took to keep dancing.  Then, I realized that physical therapy had done so well for me, I had to learn more.  I started taking my pre-requisite coursework and investigating programs.  I chose to go to Upstate Medical Center and continued to dance through college.  While in my final rotation, I read an article about Marika Molnar at Westside Dance and how she was working with NYCB.  A dream come true!  I knew immediately what I had to do.  I moved to NYC and eventually started working with her, taking ballet classes at 890 Broadway and having a blast.

Fast forward 30+ years and a career working with professional dancers from all genres, figure skaters and gymnasts.  My life and career have been informed by dance at every turn.  I owe my problem-solving skills to dance and my mechanical training, and the development of my manual techniques to the many professional performing artists I have had the privilege to work with over the years.  Now, I dance through my hands.  Once a dancer, always a dancer!

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