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Meet Dr. Alexis Sams, PT of AZ Dance Medicine Specialists in North Phoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Alexis Sams, PT.

Dr. Sams, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
About Dr. Alexis and how AZDM got started: “I attended PT school in New York from 2005-2008, volunteering with physical therapists who worked with professional dance companies all three years as well as PTs who performed research on movement and injury incidence in dancers, including the PT teams at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and Harkness Center for Dance Injuries.

I started ANS Fitness and Physical Therapy in 2014 as a way to accept payment when dance moms would ask me to look at their kids’ injuries while I was teaching…legally. Then they started asking me to work with their kids privately, at the studio or at home. Since I worked at multiple studios this caused me to travel around the metro Phoenix area, working with tons of dancers.

By 2016, there were too many clients for me to continue making house/studio calls, so I got a small treatment space of about 150 sqft in central Phoenix. In 2017, the building my space was in caught on fire…twice. So I moved to a 250 sqft space in February 2018 in east Phoenix. Client demand continued to grow and in October 2018 we moved into a 550 sqft space.

Then teachers started reaching out to me looking for the best exercises for dancers or advice about guiding an injured dancer through recovery. So I started creating trainings modules and workshops for them, combining my knowledge of dance instruction with my body and movement knowledge as a physical therapist. (I’m a dance instructor too, don’t think I mentioned that.)

In 2018 I rebranded the company from ANS Fitness and Physical Therapy to AZ Dance Medicine Specialists to reach the community that I am passionate about helping, the community that I’ve been in and loved for over 20 years.

We now are in a 1350 sqft space that includes a treatment area and dance space where we provide movement analysis, dance coaching and educational workshops. In 2019, we also expanded and established a sister company, AZ DancemED which focuses solely on education and professional development for the dance

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of AZ Dance Med’s biggest struggles has been quickly finding ways to accommodate our rapid growth. We are continually challenged to find ways to run the clinic more efficiently so that we can take care of as many dancers as possible without sacrificing our company standards and values.

My biggest personal struggle has been keeping myself healthy over the last few years while the company grows. I’ve had to work hard to discipline myself to make sure I get adequate sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. It’s easy to become a workaholic when you love what you do and your business is growing at lightning speed.

Please tell us about your practice.
Simply put, we take care of the dance community. We provide education, injury recovery, emotional support, for dancers of all ages, levels, and genres. I’d like to say we are most known for helping dancers recover from injuries or movement challenges when others could not. We look at the body as a whole when treating dancers and look for the ultimate source of their problem; we do not stop care when their symptoms go away.

I think that something that makes AZ Dance Med unique is that the entire staff is comprised of people who are still active in the dance community. Our staff includes company directors, professional dancers, student dancers, dance parents, dance instructors and choreographers. That helps us to stay even more connected to the community we serve.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Lip syncing to Prince songs with my favorite cousins. There was enough of us to be Prince and The Revolution. We “played Prince” regularly. It was good times. : )

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Roaring Steps Photography (headshot)
Rai J. Designs (group teaching photo)

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