Get to Know: Natalie, Dance Physiotherapist

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Natalie Jacobs is a Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor with a special interest in working with dancers and athletes alike. From a young age, Natalie trained as a dancer and went on to perform in Melbourne and London and teach ballet and contemporary at various dance schools. Her dance training includes RAD ballet, completing all grades and major exams up to Advanced 2, contemporary, jazz and tap.

She joined us in 2018, bringing 21 years of dance experience and over 5 years of clinical movement coaching skills to the team.

Natalie Jacobs, MPhty (USYD), APAM Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, Dance Physiotherapist Master of Physiotherapy (University of Sydney) Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science (Deakin University) Bachelor of Dance (Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne) Comprehensive rehabilitation /Studio Pilates (Polestar Pilates)

Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up in Hunter Valley and trained to become a dancer alongside school, before moving to Melbourne at 17 to continue dancing and gain my Bachelor of Dance. I went on to become a professional contemporary dancer and performed in independent works in Melbourne and taught ballet and contemporary at various dance schools.

I lived in London for two years, where I performed – and also took full advantage of the travel opportunities in Europe!

After I became injured, I taught Pilates – where my love for working with and learning about bodies continued to evolve and took me down the physiotherapy path. I studied Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney and graduated in 2018.

What motivated you to become a Physiotherapist, and what do you love about your work and this industry?

I’ve always worked with bodies – analysing them and educating people to understand theirs better. Growing up, there was a lack of Dance Physiotherapists, so I wanted to become a part of that movement and be able to continue to share my knowledge.

Dance physiotherapy has been coming in the background for about a decade but is coming to the forefront in recent years with more research. There’s room for development but it’s great to see momentum behind it – it is very important to consider the physical demands of a dancer who is an elite athlete.

What do you do at Movement Laboratory?

Dance physio, pre-pointe assessments, tertiary dance assessments, teaching clinical conditioning classes, Physiotherapy consults, acute sporting injury – all sorts! A lot of what I do is based around identifying and altering dysfunctional movement patterns and finding efficiency of movement, which means using the least amount of effort and achieving full freedom of movement.

What are your special areas of interests? What interests you most about these areas?

Dance physio! I treat a lot of feet, hip, knee and lower back injuries, but I love to treat feet. They are so crucial for balance, stability and pointe work. Our feet work so hard, yet often are neglected!

What is your philosophy on physiotherapy and movement?

Educating and empowering people to harness the potential in their bodies and to understand their own body. Education is crucial in the prevention of future injuries – and looking after their bodies effectively.

What do you like to do outside of the clinic?

I love running and spending time at the beach. There are some lovely beaches around Sydney, but I do like visiting parents in Port Stephens for the weekend – where I get my real beach fix!

What/who inspires you?

I take inspiration from my patients and my own pursuit to understand the complexities of the human body.

What’s your career goal for Physiotherapy?

To be a prominent figure in the dance physio world and continue to work with dancers every day! I’ve considered going back to University to gain a PhD in Dance Research but I’m quite content for now.

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