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May 25, 2021

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Dr. Sheyi Ojofeitimi — Interim Director of Therapy Services at Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, CEO and Owner of Synthesis Physical Therapy, and Co-Founder of the Dance Ready Project. Dr. Sheyi is working on her third decade of licensed physical therapy and, in addition to her many job roles, has provided backstage coverage for several Broadway shows. She has also researched and authored or co-authored 18 journal articles and has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science.

Dr. Ojofeitimi was first introduced to professional dance at age 16, when she was awed by the “tricks” of the on-stage dancers. She truly could not understand how bodies could move as these dancers’ bodies moved. However, Dr. Ojofeitimi came to realize one important truth — dancers can move because they are athletes. And she has dedicated her life to reminding dancers that they are athletes. On the podcast, Dr. Ojofeitimi discusses how she found her passion in dance physical therapy and, along the way, shares some practical tips around stretching, warming up, and finding joy in mobility.


Moving Quotes:

"Dancers are passionate people. They are athletes. I help see themselves as athletes... They need to be taken as seriously as their sporting counterparts."

"There's a criminal and a victim. It's not the criminal who is screaming. It's always the victim. The purpose of therapy is to find out who the real criminal is. And oftentimes, that criminal is living on the opposite side of the victim!"

"You have to understand that warming up and stretching are completely different things... Warming up is anything you do to increase your tissue temperature and get ready to move."

"Find that one thing you would do every day without getting paid for, and then you will find your passion. Physical therapy was it for me."

"Stretching goes way beyond your body. It goes into your mind. It goes into your spirit. It goes into your gut."

"There's no perfect body. You are your perfect body. What you have is perfectly made for you... Stop trying to copy somebody else. Do you. Learn you."

"I'm not a fan of overstretching — or of putting your legs up on something and then pushing down. When your body is ready to go there, it will. Don't force your body beyond any point that it wants to."

"I'm not a fan of fancy equipment. What does your body say? Give it time. If you train it, it will do you well. Don't force it."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

3:03: Dr. Ojofeitimi discusses the first moment she truly encountered dance and realized that dancers are indeed athletes doing incredible things with their bodies.

7:21: Dr. Ojofeitimi explains how dancers should start thinking like athletes, in order to avoid injury and to perform at optimal level.

11:03: Dr. Ojofeitimi discusses the main ingredient to avoiding injury and gives some tips on effective stretching.

17:15: Dr. Ojofeitimi shares some advice for dancers with hypermobility.

18:16: Dr. Ojofeitimi explains how stretching doesn’t require fancy equipment and can be accomplished using random items from around the house.

21:25: Dr. Ojofeitimi discusses how stretching and mobility can change — and has changed — the lives of non-dancers.

26:26: Dr. Ojofeitimi retells the incredible story of how she first got involved with Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, where she’s now been for two decades.

34:50: Dr. Ojofeitimi discusses the importance of always keeping your eyes out for your passion — and shares advice on how to ultimately find that passion.

36:35: Dr. Ojofeitimi describes her three companies and how the three intersect with each other.

46:51: Dr. Ojofeitimi looks at the future and discusses what is next for her over the next few years.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Dr. Sheyi Ojofeitimi

Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation



Dance Ready Project



Synthesis Physical Therapy