Hot Off the Presses! The Latest in Circus Science Medicine Research

Circus News

Hot Off the Presses! The Latest in Circus Science Medicine Research

If you are an artist, coach, producer, or clinician you know that keeping circus artists training and performing uninterrupted by injury is crucial to our field. Do you currently seek out information on injury prevention in circus arts? Where do you find it? There is research out there that’s difficult for the public to access due to the publisher’s copyright, and the latest information about injuries in circus bodies is usually published in scientific journals. It can take over a decade for that knowledge to make its way into a clinical setting and even longer to reach the training realm. As a circus medicine physical therapist, I have been involved with circus for over 30 years and actively straddling the divide between the two worlds. I love nerding out, reading the research that is out there, and even more, I am thrilled to discuss it with others, communicating it to the rest of the circus world. I’m interested in figuring out how we can shorten the distance and bridge that gap from research and researcher to the clinic, into the studio, and onto the stage.
Pre-pandemic collaborations Put yourself back before the pandemic when we went to conferences, sat around big tables, networked, and made new friends. You’re in a room listening to a talk by a researcher whose paper you just read, or that colleague you always meant to connect with. That’s where I was in October 2019, when the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) hosted their annual conference in Montreal.  Why was I, a circus medicine physical therapist, at a dance medicine conference? Two reasons: first, the conference organizers had purposefully included circus arts in the programming. They reached out to circus presenters and collaborated with Cirque du Soleil to facilitate tours and presentations in their home city. Second, the researchers from the Performing Artist and Athlete Research Lab (PEARL) were going to be there. They had just published a paper ...
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Dr. Emily Scherb, PT

Dr Emily Scherb earned her Doctorate In Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been a practicing circus artist for over thirty years and has worked as an aerial and flying trapeze instructor across the US. As founder and owner of The Circus Doc, Dr. Scherb has presented continuing education programming for circus educators and healthcare professionals on the unique physical demands and challenges of working with circus artists. Her bestselling book Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts was the first to address the biomechanics and physical demands involved in circus training. Dr. Scherb lives in Seattle, WA where she owns Pure Motion Physical Therapy. Her clinic is dedicated to working with professional and recreational circus artists. As a board member of Seattle Dance and Performing Arts Medicine, she participates in free healthcare clinics for performing arts in the Pacific Northwest and educational programming to expand knowledge around performing arts medicine. Dr. Scherb is also an active board member of the American Youth Circus Organization/American Circus Educators.