Megan Meier
Follow Dr. Meier on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @thedancerdoctor.

1. What is your background in both dance and medicine? Why did you decide to pursue these two disciplines? 

I practice primary care sports medicine with a focus in dance medicine. I grew up dancing since I was 4 years old and love the arts. As I became a more advanced dancer experiencing injuries, I found that doctors often didn’t understand the demands of my sport which limited my care and ability to return to my craft. I wanted to bridge that gap as a physician to help dancers get back to dancing when injured. I also am passionate about preventative medicine and mental health care for dancers to help keep dancers healthy “head to toe” and to prevent injuries before they occur.

2. When was the first time you performed, and what part of that experience do you still carry with you?

I was a 4 or 5 year old baby swan in our studio’s production of “Swan Lake.” My class was all very proud to be on the stage and I personally had practiced every step and pose daily (many of my non-dance pictures that year and even Christmas card is in a “swan” pose). During our performance, one little girl got a laugh shaking her booty at the front of the stage while the rest of us, unaware, were focused on our choreography. All these little dancers just heard the eruption of laughter and the stage deteriorated into a mass of crying little girls, scattering in all directions looking for their parents. Definitely a memorable performance!

3. Such creative journeys often face great challenges and successes. What event(s) inspired or challenged you personally to pursue dance and incorporate that practice into your medical training?

As every dancer can relate, I too faced several challenges while dancing. I had an ankle injury where I was told “just don’t dance en pointe” from the doctor I saw. I was once told “if you’re still having your period, you’re not working hard enough” from a teacher [NOTE: this is 100% unhealthy and incorrect advice]. I got so focused on the perfection of my dancing, my body, building my resume etc. that I often lost sight of the joy of why dancers choose to dance. Injuries, mental health, body image issues—most of us have been there. I know how frustrating it can be when you’re needing help and guidance and for someone to minimize your fears/frustrations without meaningful solutions. I see those same fears and frustrations in the dancers I treat each day along with the passion and joy that keeps them focused on their craft. It is my goal to help them navigate their health to experience the joy without the suffering for short term success, long term careers, and a lifetime of health.

4. What are you working on now that combines your love of dance and medicine? How do you blend your work in these two fields?

I work closely with the Oklahoma City Ballet and the University of Oklahoma Dance Department which helps me blend dance and medicine. I try to take classes when I can to stay close to the technique and demands these artists experience, in order to better help care for them. I recently did a ballroom dancing competition locally for our city’s chamber of commerce which was fun to dive back into training and performing!

5. What is one concluding piece of advice you would share for those individuals who aspire to merge their passions for health and the performing arts?

We are all gifted with different talents and passions. The most freeing thing for me was realizing that what we do with those gifts can look any way we want them to look and that there is no specific way to “be successful.” I love dancing but I am no professional. I love science but I’m no world renowned researcher. I love caring for people but I’m no Mother Theresa. We often tend to focus on what we aren’t vs. what we are. I can love all those things and marry them into a life and career I love that fulfills me, which is what I have been so fortunate to do. Look at what you enjoy and the gifts you have. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to make them work together, write out your goals and dreams and then sit when them for a while. Sometimes the ways to connect them are clear. Sometimes you are forging a new path. Reach out to people you admire in the fields that interest you and ask for help. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help you get to where you want to be!

Dr. Megan Meier examines Amy Potter, Oklahoma City Ballet principal dancer, in Mercy’s clinic at the ballet.

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