Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

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Dr. Emily Scherb, PT, DPT
PASIG would like to spotlight Dr. Emily Scherb, PT, DPT, also known as The Circus Doc! @TheCircusDoc on IG/Facebook/Twitter

Emily is based in Seattle, WA, where she has her own practice, Pure Motion Physical Therapy. There she focuses on primarily circus artists from the professional to the recreational and movers of all kinds from dancers to parkour athletes, climbers, and weekend warriors. She also teaches continuing education online and in-person through The Circus Doc. Through her courses at The Circus Doc, she helps clinicians understand the stresses and strains on circus bodies and helps circus instructors increase their knowledge of how the body works so they can teach and train circus artists safely. Recently, Dr. Scherb has created new online courses for clinicians--keeping her focused during the pandemic.

Over 10 years ago, Dr. Scherb graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award in 2020.

Dr. Scherb realized at the age of 11 that performing for applause was way more fun than getting a score at a gymnastics meet and she dove into learning circus skills. Dr. Scherb says, "I have loved being in the air ever since!" Being a circus performer, led her to take time between high school and college and then again between undergrad and grad school to pursue further circus performing and teaching. During college, Dr. Scherb stayed engaged in the performing arts world by becoming a dance minor and spending as much time under stage lights as possible.

Through working with artists around the country and over the last few decades, Dr. Scherb has watched circus arts grow exponentially, especially as a recreational activity. With that growth she has also seen the industry struggle to figure out new and safe teaching methods, which was the inspiration to write her book, Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts. She is excited to bring researchers in the field together through collaboration and events like the American Circus Educators (ACE) conference, focusing on knowledge sharing with other clinicians (PASIG), and to the circus community, itself. Through Dr. Scherb's work, her book, her workshops, and her ongoing courses, she is able to remain a large part of the current movement to improve artists' performance while giving back, in the form of learning tools to stay healthy and strong.


  • I was a madrigal singer in high school.
  • I just got my first puppy!
  • I love to cook and find it relaxing. Yes, I made sourdough during the pandemic.
  • I have taught flying trapeze in 5 countries and 9 states (and always looking to add more)!!
  • I hung upside down from a hot air balloon over Bryant Park in NYC.


Dr. Tessa Kasmar, PT, DPT, OCS
The PASIG would like to spotlight Dr. Tessa Kasmar, PT, DPT, OCS, who also completed a Performing Arts Physical Therapy Fellowship.

"I work at The Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio primarily with performing artists in a clinical setting, including dancers, figure skaters, and musicians. I also have the opportunity to perform injury checks and provide backstage coverage for our collegiate and professional dance affiliations. I am currently a faculty member for OSU’s Performing Arts Fellowship and Orthopaedic Residency programs.

I graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and have been practicing for over 4 years.

I grew up as a pre-professional ballet dancer and my experiences being injured were my initial spark for the physical therapy profession. Although my personal experience as a musician and figure skater were far less extensive, I have enjoyed revisiting these specialty areas as a PT. Being a member of the PASIG has helped to grow my knowledge in these areas and connect with other PTs with similar interests nationwide.

Completing the Performing Arts Fellowship has led to me presenting at APTA’s NEXT Conference as well as the opportunity to be a member of our fellowship faculty. I’ve really enjoyed presenting didactic material and being a mentor for our fellow-in-training – teaching is something that I have really grown to love! One on my favorite parts is educating different performing arts groups on injury prevention, self-care, basic nutrition, anatomy and biomechanics, and strength and conditioning topics. The foot/ankle is my favorite region to work with, and I also recently completed my training for custom orthotics! I still dance, mostly ballet and modern, but currently on hold due to closures (Covid).

FUN FACT: I love scary movies and making donuts (and other baked goods)! I also have an orange cat named Gus."


Dr. Monique DeLuca, PT, DPT, OCS
The PASIG would like to spotlight Dr. Monique DeLuca, PT, DPT, OCS, currently completing a Performing Arts Fellowship at Johns Hopkins in Maryland.

"Through the Performing Arts Fellowship I treat all types of performing artists, including dancers, musicians, vocalists, figure skaters, actors, and gymnasts ranging in age from adolescents to adults. A large portion of my caseload includes collegiate level dancers and musicians due to Johns Hopkins Rehabilitation partnership and on-site clinic at The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

As part of the fellowship, I have completed various performing arts specific, post-professional, didactic courses under the direction of Andrea Lasner including all The Harkness Center’s online dance curriculum, the Essentials of Performing Arts Medicine Certification through the Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA) and the American College of Sports Medicine, and dance modules from Andrea Zujko’s Dance Medicine Education Initiative. Additionally, I have attended various conferences through organizations such as the International Association of Dance Medicine (IADMS) and the American Physical Therapy Association. These courses have allowed me to continue to grow as a performing arts specialist and have identified areas within the performing arts realm that need further attention and on-going research.

Some performing arts related research projects I have been involved with include retrospective analyses of results from previous dance and music screens, effects of blood flow restriction training for dancers, and unique dancer case studies. Additionally, I have participated in various outreach programs including musician and dancer wellness screens, backstage care, pre-pointe ballet assessments, and various wellness lectures with focus on injury prevention and promoting peak performance.

I received both my Bachelor of Science in Clinical Health Studies with two minors in Dance & Health and my Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Ithaca College—GO BOMBERS! While in school, I was a member of multiple on-campus dance companies and taught introductory dance classes at a local dance conservatory. Upon graduating, I completed an external physical therapy Orthopedic Residency through Cayuga Medical Center and became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS).

With nearly six years in PT practice, I feel fortunate that my dream of being a performing arts specialist continues to evolve. I have danced for nearly 20 years in various styles including ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, and contemporary. I have also sang and played flute and electric bass guitar throughout high school in school-based chorus, band ensembles, and marching band. Additionally, I have performed in community bands and choruses through the New York State Music Association. As a former performing artist, it is my passion to combine my orthopaedic knowledge and clinical skills together with my performing arts experience to deliver optimal care and provide performing artists with the tools necessary for a healthy and prosperous career. I joined the Performing Arts SIG (PASIG) to meet other professionals who share my love and interest for the performing arts world. Through the PASIG, I hope not only to continue to learn and grow as a clinician in order to best serve this unique population, but also to share the knowledge that I have gained throughout my career with others. I view the PASIG as a family who supports one another and works together to advance performing arts practice across the nation.

FUN FACT: Aside from my love for performing arts, I also adore dogs and recently added my first fur baby, Didi, a miniature Aussiedoodle, to my family!"


Dr. Gina Minchella PT, DPT, OCS
The Performing Arts Special Interest Group (PASIG) would like to spotlight Dr. Gina Minchella PT, DPT, OCS.

"I work as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist and currently practice in Los Angeles. I own my practice, Minchella Physical Therapy, which has two divisions. The first division provides on-location physical therapy for TV and live touring productions. I primarily work with Dancing with the Stars-both with their live show as well as their nation-wide tours- treating the professional dancers and celebrity contestants. I have also provided physical therapy for other productions over the last several years where I treated professional dancers (to name a few): Derek and Julianne Hough, Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy, as well as professional musicians like Depeche Mode, and R5. The second part of my practice is my private outpatient orthopedic clinic in Hermosa Beach.

PT School: I graduated from the University of Southern California in 2004.

I have been practicing for over 16 years! That seems strange to me, since it feels like no time has gone by at all!

Since I work primarily with performing artists, I have found that the PASIG provides a fantastic source of fellow PTs who can provide feedback, referrals, and resources for the typical issues that come up in our specific patient population and niche practice. I have met so many incredible colleagues through the PASIG and I love being able to support and be supported by all of the talented therapists within this specialty.

Fun fact: I occasionally work with the Los Angeles Kings as an adjunct PT and the first two years I worked with them, they won the Stanley Cup! So I got to meet the cup- twice! Needless to say, I became a true hockey fan after that- GO KINGS GO!"


Dr. Kristen Hope Schuyten, PT, DPT, MS, SCS, CSCS
The Performing Arts Special Interest Group (PASIG) would like to spotlight Dr. Kristen Hope Schuyten, PT, DPT, MS, SCS, CSCS.

"I work as a Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist and Performing Arts Rehabilitation Coordinator for MedSport at Michigan Medicine. My caseload is primarily dancers, skaters, instrumentalists, gymnasts, and other performing arts specialties ranging in the ages of pediatric to young adult-but I do have some professionals and faculty!

At MedSport, I have developed Performing Arts competencies and educational programming. These competencies focus on injury prevention and wellness and target other clinicians; dance educators at studios, and figure skating professionals at ice rinks. I received my Board Certification in Sports (SCS) and have been able to use that along with the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) certification to cover ice skating and dance competitions and performances, offering both on-ice and backstage treatment services. With my SCS and performing arts background, I have been able to serve as a Chief Medical Officer for Regional and National Championship skating events throughout Michigan. I am also on the Sports Medicine Committee with US Figure Skating and serve as an anchor for the STARS (Standardized Testing of Athleticism to Recognize Skaters) Combines in Michigan. Prior to Covid-19, I was traveling with Team USA figure skating all over the world-including the 2018 Olympics, the 2019 World Championships, and the 2020 Four Continents Championships.

Lastly, at the University of Michigan, I am an adjunct faculty with the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance where I teach Anatomy and Physiology for Dancers every fall. I also help cover the Performing Arts Triage Clinic (now virtual) and carry out the annual Injury Risk Screening for all incoming freshmen performing arts students. Both of these projects have been ongoing for over a decade! I feel very fortunate to have support on the medical and academic sides at the University of Michigan for further development with these on-going programs.

PT School: Central Michigan University for both Masters and Doctorate in PT. Fire Up, Chips! In January, I am bringing an all-encompassing Performing Arts curriculum back to my PT alma mater, CMU, to teach PT students about performing arts rehabilitation.

14 years in PT Practice! I also danced for over 20 years and played the coronet for 8 years from elementary through high school in the wind ensemble and marching band. I have even acted in a few plays through high school and college.

I feel that most of the PASIG members have their own unique experience with injury-either directly or indirectly as a performer- and they realize there is a disconnect present from all facets of health care-and that they want to do something about it! I am proud to serve as an advocate for my student performers who are caught in challenging situations due to their academic standing being directly linked to their ability to maintain full physical AND cognitive performance even through injury. I know what it feels like to have health care providers that do not speak your language, or have any idea of the physical demands of performing arts, and I am grateful that the physical therapy profession is realizing the need for this patient population through PASIG programming and initiatives.

I joined the PASIG to connect with other performing arts providers and to better the lives of Performing Artist (patients) across the US. I love to teach and have used my past experience with injury to fuel our programming at the University of Michigan and look forward to assisting the PASIG in the same way.

My hubby and I took professional Cha Cha lessons for our wedding dance, even having our lifts choreographed by Olympic ice dancers!"


Rosie Canizares, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS
The Performing Arts Special Interest Group (PASIG) would like to spotlight Rosie Canizares (@icheer04duke), PT, DPT, OCS, SCS and Vice President of the PASIG.

"I work at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and am board-certified in both orthopaedics and sports physical therapy. I see patients at the Duke Student Health and the Duke Dancer Wellness Clinic. Besides being the PASIG VP, I am the Coordinator of Alumni Engagement at Duke for their DPT program, Advisor for the Duke DPT Performing Arts Club, and a Mentor through the AOPT Mentorship Program.

I graduated from Duke Physical Therapy School, a baker's dozen years ago… Go Duke! #foreverDuke I love being part of the PASIG because I have, literally, been dancing ballet as soon I was out of diapers-at age 2 and a half!! And, I also played the piano growing up, and was a Duke Cheerleader in college. I attribute my decision to pursue the physical therapy profession to my background in dance!

Now that I am in my second term as Vice-President of the PASIG, I have found that I really enjoy working with the other PASIG leaders, as well as collaborating with other AOPT SIGs and APTA Academies to offer educational programming. PASIG has allowed me some very interesting experiences, having previously served on the Nominating Committee, and also allowed us a platform to host a 'New Practitioner Q&A' on Zoom this summer. I was also excited to find out that my AOPT Mentee has a strong interest in Performing Arts. Knowing this is very important to me.

Daily, I have been able to connect Duke DPT alums with current Duke DPT students and we were able to host fellow Duke DPT alum and PASIG Membership Chairperson, Jessica Waters (@waters_jm), as a speaker - even from several states away via Zoom!

*BONUS FUN FACT: While COVID has canceled many things at Duke this year (most notably for me would be the American Dance Festival), I'm most thankful that my niece has been able to move onto campus as a freshman and will be here all year with me! She is following in my footsteps as a performer, a violinist, in Duke's chamber music program!"

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