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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Returning from an injury


Guest pirrouette

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Guest pirrouette

This message is mainly directed towards Ms. Leigh and Mr. Johnson, but i'd appreciate any advice anyone would care to share!

 

I have been away from dance for almost 8 months now due to a hip injury, and will be taking my first class two days from now. Prior to this injury, the most time i'd ever had off from dancing was six weeks (a fractured toe a few years back). When I was first seen by a doctor, he told me not to stretch at all (it would reinforce poor hip alignment), and my physical activity has been pretty much limited to walking; yoga, weightlifting, running, biking - all of these caused pain to some degree. After seeing a hip specialist about a month ago who manipulated the joint into place, the pain has been practically nonexistent, and I can raise my leg above my hip again!

 

The question I have is, what can I expect when returning to dance? How long will it take until my muscles loosen up and I regain flexibility? What does turnout feel like after 8 months of parallel? Will my muscle memory be the same? What is a realistic level of capability to expect from myself - will I ever regain my old ability? I realize most of these points will be answered with time, but i'd like to have an idea of how my return to dance is going to play out...

 

 

A very sincere thank-you in advance,

Pirrouette

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Don't worry, it will take you awhile to get back into the swing of things, and to revive old habits in the muscles, but you never really lose the muscle memory of how to do things. It may just take awhile, say a few months to get everything stretched out and going again.

 

Start easy - don't go into your first classes hell-for-leather! You're just likely to hurt yourself again that way. You'll regain your past competency and even surpass it given time and proper instruction. (Ah, there's that old "proper instruction" again! :cat: )

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Yes, it will take several months, as Mr. Johnson said. I would avoid certain things in the early days of classes, such as grand plié, grand rond de jambe, high extensions and stretching exercises except very simple ones with no forcing of rotation or extension. Give yourself a chance to let your body tell you what it is ready to do. Start with VERY modest rotation in everything. First few days just barre, and moderate that as stated above. Eight months is a long time.

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It might help to start out by taking some lower level classes. After my knee surgery, I still continued to assistant teach two classes weekly. One was for 5 year olds, the other, 7. After I got out of my knee brace, I would help demonstrate things like baby runs (turned in bourees) small plies, tendu, ballet walks. All of those helped me get my legs thinking about dance again, but it was still a while before I went back to my classes. When I first started those again, what amazed me most was just how much I had forgotten, actually. I had trouble remembering some of the vocabulary, just because I hadn't been thinking about it at all for almost a year! But it all comes back quickly, mentally. Physically, I found it really helped to just take it slow, and know that everything would come back sooner or later. I still have days where I can't do a full class, cause my knee starts feeling wierd, but my teacher just told me she thinks I'm finally back to where I was before my injury, almost two years ago, now.

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definitely talk to your teacher before class... you don't want to get yelled at for not doing stuff, and then sound whiny when you say, "but my hip was hurt..." :rolleyes:

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