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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Summer Successes and Setbacks

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I've been out for months with sesamoiditis. I have special orthotics but it's just not healing... I can walk without pain but I can't go on demi pointe at all... :-(


Oh Marjolein, I feel you! I have a different problem, but can't do demi pointe OR point well. Here's hoping we're both on the mend and dancing soon :)!


Thanks, y'all! After extreme fatigue (a result of a lack of conditioning and a much lower volume and intensity of classes while traveling for the past twelve week) finally wore off it looks like all I've got is a mild semitendinosus strain. It revealed some overall weakness in my hip extensors. My hip extensors (hamstrings, gluteus maximus) are quite stiff despite having a better than average passive range of motion (leg can go well beyond 90, but never in a developpe devant), and my hamstrings often fire before my glutes which is a problem I've been working on. Poor posture in my temporary living situation while traveling also undid a good amount of work I had done to combat anterior pelvic tilt, which was also likely a problem in the injurious saut de chat since my femur likely started the jump a little forward and then popped into place once I fully engaged my core and pulled my hip and femur into proper alignment at the height of the jump. Ah, the joys of femoral anterior glide *sigh*


All of that to say that my current progress is looking quite good compared to what I expected when I couldn't separate the fatigue from the injury. Light stretching and careful conditioning feel much better now than they did 72 hours after injury. I also took a a ballet class (somewhat modified for my left leg) and it went much better than expected. Range of motion also looks pretty good, but I'm going to take care to not overdo it in the next couple of weeks.


Lidewij: I know the 1 hour travel each way to class life all too well. Hopefully you are able to do better than I did with it!


It sounds like you're recovering well! I'm very impressed with your self knowledge--wish I was as familiar with my weaknesses beyond vague things like, "My core is terrible" and "My calves are tight"! Do you have a medical background? I feel the sudden urge to go study dance anatomy... :wink: Which, considering my position at the moment, would probably be a great idea! Glad to hear things feel better :D

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I'm still modifying class and being extremely mindful of my placement and movement, so full recovery won't be for a while.


Oh heavens no to the medical background! I'm a grad student working on a PhD in a field very far removed from medical science, but it has given me crazy research skills and access to academic journals (along with the ability to distinguish between studies worth paying attention to and which ones have potentially problematic methodologies) that make it easier for me to learn more about how bodies work. Part of the overall problem, even for doctors and physical therapists, is that the body is complicated! People can have subtle variations in bones/joints/muscles that can really only be identified by imaging and even different movement patterns that can result in anomalies or issues that can be extremely difficult to find the source of. When injuries are mild and doctors/insurance companies don't see much of a need to do too much for a recreational dancer, the most you'll likely get is a recommendation for RICE. It can be time consuming, but I do think it is important--especially as adults--to learn about our bodies and try to keep them safe and strong. Plus, it can be extremely helpful if you do end up with a good PT to know how to talk about your body.

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Thanks Lidewij en Morninglorie! I have another appointment at the orthopedist, in the mean while I've been taping my toe to stabilize it and that seems to be helping.


I have to teach this summer, both ballet and tap (in a heeled shoe!) so I need this to heal soon. And I really miss taking class myself! Nothing like my Sunday morning trips to Brussels for ballet class!

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When do you have to start teaching, Marjolein? Hopefully you still have a few weeks to rest your foot?


(Off topic, maybe you can pm me: And where do you take class on Sunday morning? I have several options to get to a reasonable amount of classes each week, but none on Sunday. I'm always free that day so it would be great to take class on that day.)

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txtstudent: I'm also a phD student (biology but not med student) and the access to academic journal is the best part of the job, I've learned a lot from academic journals. Sometimes I've even learn stuff to the physio or to my family phycician. Some medical people do not aprreciate the fact that you are not a med student but still knowing what they are talking about and if you answer using the right word some are going crazy (it happens once at the hospital the MD was shouting on me because I was not a ed student I should use this vocabulary (as if non med people were stupid), intern were laughing because I was right in what I was saying, one stayed after she left telling me she was upset because she didn't know the answer to my questions !) some however really appreciate it. The dance physio I've just seen as well as both ostopath I've seen really appreciate my knowledge you can tell them exactly where is the pain how it's linking to other body part ... not just my foot hurt end of the explanation.

Set back, my ankle was getting better then I got sick and got antibiotics the next day my ankle was painful again, looked at the side effect: joint pain. The MD said it's going to last for a week as it was a long lasting antibiotics . grrrrrrr!!!! Sometimes you feel like injuries are a never ending story... I have an intensive in less than 5 weeks now!! It's getting scarier and scarrier (more scarry maybe more correct!)


Wish you both (txtstudent and marjolein) a speedy recovery ...

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Lidewij, I start teaching on the 11th! Bit more time to rest my foot. I see my orthopedist again this afternoon, we'll see what he says...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been out for months with sesamoiditis. I have special orthotics but it's just not healing... I can walk without pain but I can't go on demi pointe at all... :-(

I have too. :/ I've taped my foot to keep the toe still, I wear my orthodics, I ice it and I've even added contrast baths but it isn't improving. I'm afraid the doctor is going to just stick me in a boot in August... I was supposed to get better with just the orthodics in (hopefully) a month. I doubted that prognosis since I've been in pain for a year and now it's proving false since I was diagnosed in May...


I'm bummed all the time. I never really exercise anymore even though I know I should. I need some motivation to do more mat pilates (or ideas of other activities) so that when I come back I can come back strong. I think I'm just bummed because I feel like I will never get past this pain.

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I can finally do grand battements at the barre and most jumps and petit allegro in center. I also did a couple tiny and low saut de chats at the end of class without any pain in my leg. It feels like it has taken forever, but things are feeling somewhat back to normal.

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It really does take time! I'm still doing rehab. exercises from a hamstring attachment injury in December. There was a point when the physiotherapist said - quite reluctantly - that I should stop running & dancing for about 3 weeks. It really helped, just to rest that leg. Drove me crazy, but it was what was needed.

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I've been away from dance since March...

Unfortunately my doctor doesn't know what is wrong with my foot. His first guess was a stress fracture, then he thought sesamoiditis, now he has no clue. My X-ray and MRI are both clear, but I still can't go on demi-pointe at all. Pointing my foot is not a problem, only demi-pointe (and high heels...) A cortisone shot improved it somewhat (I can walk normally again), but not enough to dance.
My osteopath is at a loss as well. Some serious manipulating brought back my demi-pointe for about half an hour. By the time I was home, my demi-pointe was gone again. He also made me stay away from sugar and wheat for 10 days to see if it might be a sugar-induced inflammation. I'm on day 9 and there's no difference...
I'm becoming desperate, it feels as if I'll never get to dance again...
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Calairiel, I totally understand. I've been dealing with an injury for nearly a year, and have been out of dance completely for four months. Treatment has gone in waves--I've had some encouraging things happen, only for something discouraging to crop up (delays in treatment, appointments, etc.) As such, I've had mixed bouts of doing other exercise--I've tried to stay off the offending ankle, so typically do floor barre, some yoga, and pilates with an exercise ball. Currently in a round of being unmotivated, though my treatment seems to be progressing (fingers crossed).


I'm currently IN a boot, but hopefully for only another week or so, then its back to PT. I got a PRP injection last week that I hope helps my tendon, but time will tell!


Marjolein, I have also been out since March, and also depressed about it :( Hoping we both get back at it soon, and that someone figures out whats going on with your foot :(

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Marjolein, what about Flexor Hallucis Longus (FHL) tendinosis/"tendinitis"?

Can you bend your big toe upwards (like in demi pointe) when your foot is in a flexed position?

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Somewhat,but not nearly as far as my other foot.

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My class today went amazing! For the first time since I started, I felt confident in my movements and felt like I looked good doing them. I got two individual corrections. Balancing on releve, I forgot to engage the muscles on top of my knees but, because she gave me this correction 2 weeks ago, I fixed it before she finished giving me the correction. Later I did an uncharacteristically sloppy sousou (sp?) when the teacher was in front of me so she asked me to do it again, nbd. She also gave the class an awesome tip on how to developpes to the back without wrecking your alignment by leading with the knee. AND I wasn't the only one in a leotard! The two of us bonded over how great it was to not be the only one in class not wearing regular workout clothes. A couple of us were talking after class about how we wish that there was more than one Absolute beginner class per week (maybe Saturday+ a weekday evening) and so we are going to request it. We'd like to be able to work more often without having to go to higher level classes we aren't ready for yet.


Speaking of which, I found out last week that the awful beginner class I wrote about a few weeks ago has since been tuned down. One of the students who was at that class has recently started coming to my Saturday classes. She said that some people complained and that the class I went to was especially bad. The teacher never explained any steps and, even though she realized immediately that I was very new to ballet, gave no easier alternatives to any exercise. At the time I had chalked it up to the class being a regularly attended class that had informally risen a level (and that I couldn't keep up due to inexperience, so I just didn't go back) but I suppose maybe it was the teacher not really getting the level the students were at (and I was particularly unprepared). It's kind of gratifying to know that it wasn't all my fault that I had a bad experience in the class.


There were a lot of highs and lows in this post but the takeaway for me is that I am improving and I can tell the difference! I'm beginning to better understand how to actually work in good alignment and apply corrections to specific muscles. I have a lot more work to do but that seems more doable, because I feel like I'm not completely working against my body like it felt when I started! It's a good day.

Edited by Sparrow
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  • 2 years later...
Chasse Away

Can I start back up this thread? 

It came up in my search for “unmotivated” because that’s how I’m feeling today and I just can’t shake it.

Summer has been going well for me so far, I found one actual advanced adult ballet class that’s a proper length of time (1h 40 min or so) at first I didn’t love it because I was the oldest out of three students but now it seems that the set of regular students had completely changed, so now I am the one who has been taking the class the longest, even though I’ve only been there for 3 months😂. And of course I miss a classic Vaganova class but the new teacher I have found actually does have nice style, it suits me very well. I’ve been taking some contemporary and jazz classes on another night so I can dance at least twice a week.


But anyways right now I’m sitting in an empty studio and I am just lacking motivation, I was working through one of Kathryn Morgan’s barre videos when it hit me, I mean it was really hard for me to find the motivation to even come dance in the first place. All day at my desk job I literally day dream about dance. But now I just find myself so exhausted? Maybe it’s the lack of caffeine, I’ve been trying to cut back. Or maybe it’s the fact that this studio is very cold and lonely and I’ve had a lonely day at work and so I haven’t had a good social interaction and it’s got me down. Or maybe it’s the fact that I have no concrete goals for dance coming up. 


Like most days, my LOVE of dance is enough to keep me motivated to work hard. If it’s a normal day I’m excited to go to dance and if its a rough day I usually feel better once I start, but not today. And Nutcracker is coming up but I’m really familiar with the choreography and will not get cast in anything new, which I’m perfectly happy with I find the familiarity of Nutcracker very therapeutic anyways (I feel like I’m in like a 18th century ball where everyone knows the different waltz and just dances them socially) BUT it’s not like a big motivational goal. And I have a few plans for post uni auditions so I guess I need to keep in shape and improve for that, but it just doesn't seem real right now, and there’s slim to no chance any of it will work out anyways.


I don’t know... I guess I should get back to this barre, good thing my muscles got nice and cold while I typed this out😭.


P.s. I guess “summer successes” is in the title to so I guess that would be I’ve been doing well in Jazz randomly, as a teen I was so awkward looking but now I have a good style I think, it’s like very Russian ballet-esque but with jazzy aspects of like a Tango and just a little bit of like sassy modern hip hop.

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