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The aging body and sporadic ballet class


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Hello all.


I took 3 weeks off altogether after an x-ray confirmed a fractured metatarsal (no displacement), and now I want to start back to ballet but don't want to over-do it on my foot. Last Wednesday, I started back to ballet at the rate of 2 classes a week (Wed & Sun), at the most basic class level (no jumping, no relevé, no turns - it's enough just to stand up/proprioception on the foot). My problem is that I both have a strong belief in and my body is accustomed to a 6-day a week schedule. With 3 or more days between classes, I get very sore each time, and I don't build up the conditioning to not get sore the next time. I think if I were younger, I wouldn't get as sore, but the older I get, the more I need to keep things up on a regular schedule to stay conditioned to them. But I don't think I should be standing and working on my foot every day or even every other day yet. I also find that similar but not identical to ballet activities really don't keep the same muscles conditioned. How can I get through this transitionary period while my foot finishes up its healing without so much pain?

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Perhaps you can try floor-barre?

It's based on actual barre-exercises, only adapted to a sitting/lying position so your weight isn't on your feet.

So although I guess it's never EXACTLY the same as actual ballet class (obviously the weight we carry is part of how we use our muscles, and you certainly can't dance across the room when you're lying on your back! :cool2:) I think it's the closest thing. It was invented for dancers facing the same problem as you now, after all. :yes:

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While you are right that layoffs are harder to come back from as you get older, you also have to keep in mind that the healing process also takes longer for your foot. You are at a precarious time in risking rushing back to classes to avoid muscle soreness versus the possibility of extending the overall healing process time.


Physically I don’t believe there is anything that will totally replace your workouts until your foot heals completely. As suggested, floor barre is good and you might talk to a physical therapist that is sensitive to ballet dancers for other suggestions, perhaps trying to find one by inquiring through a local dance company or large school.


Less than the muscle soreness that will come with recovery, I think a more challenging part for me would be the mental “withdrawal” symptoms that would come from having to miss dancing for a few weeks. How would I simply avoid going crazy? Or driving people around me crazy? Perhaps it might be an opportunity to spend time catching up on all those great ballet dvds and youtube clips, reading a few good ballet books, and reading every post on BalletTalk everyday!


Good luck on healing quickly and even more good luck on staying sane!

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