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Getting over the fear of a certain step

Striving for Grace

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I really need some help guys.


Without mentioning the specifics, I will say this:


A couple months ago I sustained a severe injury while doing a certain step in ballet (I am prepping for my Cecchetti Advanced 2 Exams). A couple nights ago I reinjured myself doing the same step and set my recovery back by about 6 weeks... :pinch: I was 10 weeks into healing. It's not a really advanced step, and is a step that I have never liked but have never been scared of either! Now that I've been injured twice doing it however, I am ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of that step. My teachers assure me it was just a fluke, slippery floors and stuff, as opposed to technique. It happens to the best of us, they say. :speechless:


I don't know, the first time that sounded about right, but the second time I think I had a bit more to do with it as I was bracing myself mentally for the step and was quite nervous, and hence, probably not working correctly or compensating somewhere. :shrug:


I don't think I can ever do it full-out again for fear of hurting myself. How do you get over the fear? Any advice or personal anecdotes would be MUCH appreciated. :(





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Grace, it would probably help to start out by just marking the step, then try it VERY small. (I'm thinking it is a jump?) Get used to the movement very small, and build your confidence by knowing you are doing it correctly as you gradually bring it up to a regular step. This does NOT have to be done in one day! Take your time, and don't do it full out until you feel totally comfortable with it. :pinch:

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For some people, visualization is a big help. In addition to all of Ms. Leigh's advice, while you are working back up to recovery, spend time quietly visualizing yourself completing the step, over and over in your mind. Obviously you have the skills for step. Once you have fully recovered, it's a matter of showing your mind that you can do it.


Wishing a speedy recovery and good luck!

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It's dificult to know without knowing the exact step, and I'm trying to thnk of the Cecchetti Adv syllabus -- it's a while since I've done Adv syllabus classes, but I always found the adage with renverse going into another turn ending in an extension a la seconde quite tricky -- but that was extension & rotation for me, not falling.


Can you take the step back to its individual components? analyse it and break it down in the way you were probably taught it in the first place, or ask your teacher to help you do that? Even a simple sauté can be broken down to its parts.


As you say yourself, it also sounds like tension and fear, together with maybe returning to full on dancing quite early in recovery from an injury, didn't help.


There is also the Pony Club principle of getting straight back on a horse when you've fallen, but I can quite understand why you're reluctant to do that! And for what it's worth, in my opinion, you're right to be cautious. Good luck!!

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I can completely understand where you are coming from as I have had the same experience. My two time injury occurred on a brise to the left which resulted in two sprains of my left ankle, one requiring an xray. The last sprain turned into a nasty case of plantar faciitis and resulted in my not being able to dance properly for about a year. I have fianlly gotten it all under control and have been taking things slowly. The couple of times this step has shown up since have I started jumping again I have left out the beat in order to try to get the mechanics of the step without the added dificulty. This has helped tremendously in making me believe that I can still do it without hurting myself. The right side does not invoke the same panic, so I keep telling myself that if I can do on one foot I can do it on the other.


Remember that this is mostly mental and it helps to believe that you can do it! Good Luck!



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I'm not adding any useful advice, but just some musings - since this happened to me too (not in ballet, but when I was trying cartwheels and jarred my shoulder). I'd add that you shouldn't really be learning cartwheels when in your 60s, but I'm making up for a mis-spent youth.


It seems that when you are planning a sequence of moves, the brain has the sequence stored and ready to "roll". If one part of it has been associated with pain in the past, the brain will say "NO" and prevent you from starting the sequence, no matter how hard you want to try. This is a sensible protective mechanism.


It seem particularly the case where the sequence is a ballistic one, where you have to throw yourself into the whole thing or not do it at all.


I guess therefore the way round is, as has been pointed out above, break the action down into its components (if that is possible), and repeat the one that led to pain several times, to teach the brain that it does not after all lead to pain, and then put the sequence together again.


Now if I can add something in relation to another thread, in the parents of dancers under 13 (which I am not) about canvas vs leather slippers. I thought one issue was that leather sticks to floors more, and so maybe the studio preference depends on their flooring and the state it is in.



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Thanks for all the helpful suggestions, everyone.


I will try to breathe and not panic, visualize myself successfully completing the step (I have hundreds of times before, after all!). I think I may also put some moleskin or something on the tips of my pointes, even though I hate it, to help with the slippery floors in the one studio. I have knots in my stomach just thinking about attempting it again, but know I must... I will start small and mark, as Ms. Leigh suggests. This time however, I am going to take some time out and make sure that when I go back, I am physically healthy-no rips, tears, or breaks on the mend... I figure that might help too. :ermm:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Also, what about trying it on demi-pointe, in flat shoes, not pointe shoes?


Good luck. And Breathe :shrug:

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