Princeton Ballet School Names Dance Studio For Princeton Spine And Joint Center

Princeton Ballet School, the official school of American Repertory Ballet, is pleased to announce the naming of the Princeton Spine and Joint Center Studio at its Princeton headquarters, located at the Princeton Shopping Center.

"We are grateful to Dr. Ana Bracilovic and her husband, Dr. Grant Cooper, co-directors of the Princeton Spine and Joint Center for their generosity, passion, and belief in our mission," says Julie Diana Hench, executive director of American Repertory Ballet. "This partnership furthers our commitment to ensuring that our dancers receive a holistic dance education, including a broader understanding of health, wellness, and injury prevention."

Princeton Spine and Joint Center has been caring for Princeton Ballet School dancers for years, and will now be recognized as an official health care provider for the School. In addition, Dr. Bracilovic will participate in upcoming "On Pointe" events that are free and open to the public: a panel discussion on March 15 (Dancing Your Way into College) and on May 3 (Physical Therapy: Taking Care of the Young Dancer's Body). Dr. Bracilovic will also be presenting lectures once a month for advanced dance students on a variety of topics ranging from anatomy and biomechanics, strengthening and conditioning, and injury prevention. In addition, she will be creating a series of warm-up exercises for students to do prior to classes and rehearsals, in collaboration with School Director Aydmara Cabrera.

Dr. Bracilovic began her dance training at an early age at Princeton Ballet School and continued dancing through college and medical school. Today, Drs. Bracilovic and Cooper's two daughters are currently students at the school.

As a teenager, Dr. Bracilovic set her sights on being a brain surgeon. That decision would lead her to the University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad, where she studied biomedical engineering and neural systems. When she wasn't dissecting frog spinal cords in the lab, Dr. Bracilovic could be found in the dance studio on campus, where she served as Artistic Director.

In medical school, Dr. Bracilovic took dance classes at Steps on Broadway where she spotted a brochure with the term unfamiliar to her at the time, "dance medicine." The brochure featured a mustached man in a white lab coat examining the knee of a dancer in a leotard. The man was Donald Rose, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and director of Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in New York City. Dr. Bracilovic would spend two summers with Rose and his staff learning all about the injuries of professional dancers. After medical school and residency training, Dr. Bracilovic and her husband opened their practice, Princeton Spine and Joint Center, a few blocks from Princeton Ballet School.

Much in the same way sports medicine evolved as a branch of medicine specializing in the injuries of athletes, dance medicine is a further evolution of athletic injuries focusing on the specific care, diagnosis and treatment options for dancers, from the amateur to seasoned professionals. In 2008, Dr. Bracilovic wrote a book, Essential Dance Medicine, dedicated to increasing the awareness and knowledge of the subject as well as emphasizing the importance of developing further funding for this important field.

"I am thrilled to be back in our hometown and to have the chance to work with many of my former teachers as well as the next generation of Princeton Ballet School students," says Dr. Bracilovic. "There is no better feeling than watching dancers perform whom I've seen in the office as patients. Seeing them shine in the beauty of their expression, musicality, and incredible prowess of their technique is testament to the amazing capacity of the human body and spirit, as both a science and an art. It is to this end that I relish supporting Princeton Ballet School, its students, teachers and families, and the arts in our community in general," she adds.

About American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballet School

American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: the preeminent professional classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB's Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet.

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