The Bar(re) is My Bestfriend: Coming Back From an Injury

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Today was the first day at the Pennsylvania Ballet’s summer intensive!

I have attended my fair share of ballet summer intensives over the years. Eight different programs, to be exact, and this summer will be my ninth. Fortunately, I have never suffered from a serious injury while entering into any of my past programs, but sadly this summer will be my first experience with recovering from an injury while at a ballet summer intensive.

*I know plenty of other dancers must be going through the exact same situation as me right now, so here is a list of tips to help YOU succeed in having a healthy, slow-paced recovery! *

For more information about my injury, click here. 

  1. The ballet barre literally has to become your bestfriend, especially if your injury prevents you from doing any center work (like mine). The barre is there for you. It will support you through any pains or discomforts you may be feeling no matter what…hence the “bestfriend thing”.
  2. Know when enough is enough. While in ballet class, it’s VERY EASY to be peer-pressured into doing movements your body may not be ready for yet, ESPECIALLY at a summer program. I understand your struggle completely; new dancers, new teachers, new environment…and of course you’d love to impress them with all of your wonderful dancing abilities! BUT just remember when you’re about to do that petite allegro combination that you’re not supposed to be doing, you won’t be impressing anyone when you continually suffer from a reoccurring injury because you just don’t know when to stop and say, “okay, I’ve done enough ballet today for my body.”
  3. Recovery is a gradual process, not an immediate one. Just because your injury feels okay one day, does NOT mean that you are completely healed. Give it a few days, weeks, or months (whatever your doctor’s order are).
  4. Continue to ice/heat/massage/take care of the injured area everyday. That’s the best advice I have for recovering at a quicker pace. Let’s face it, recovery takes time.
  5. Listen to your teachers, doctors, parents, and YOUR BODY. It baffles my mind when dancers choose to literally ignore their abnormal pains and keep taking ballet classes. Ignoring abnormal pain is the quickest way to end your career early.
  6. Remember that you will get back to your 100%. It will take time, as yes it will suck when the others dancers around you are doing center work and pointe work etc., but if you apply these tips to your recovery, you will get back there too! Don’t get discouraged. Stay positive as much as you can. Whether you’re only allowed to watch class, take barre, do a little bit of center etc., remember that you’re still inside the studio, observing, learning, and taking everything in. That’s what matters.

 

These tips are generalized for all types of dance-related injuries and should only be executed with your doctor’s permission.


Stay tuned to hear more about my recovery and overall experience at the Pennsylvania Ballet’s summer intensive! There will also be interviews of my fellow peers and weekly updates!

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