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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dancing with a cold; aches and pains


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I have a performance coming up! My first en pointe EVER! I have been taking a lot of classes including beginner classes en pointe to get stronger.

The sad this is, I just got a cold the other day and with it I have the most unpleasant muscle aches and pains. I tried taking class but gave up half way through barre and as I had to rehearse I stayed 'till after class to do so, but did rehearsal on flat as EVERYTHING hurt :(

I feel like a failure and that I'm losing all my strength rapidly! My performance is in about two weeks and I still hurt all over.

I am not terribly experienced en pointe anyhow so have to give it all I've got. I know my cold will be gone soon but it's a rotten one so maybe another three or four days. I am just not sure if I am strong enough for classes for the next few days though. My nose is still a mess, sneezing etc.. but more so than that my body aches.

I am taking ibuprofen, juicing, taking echinacea, walking gently and trying to rest and sleep a lot.


How can I build my strength fast again? Should I be stretching at home?

Should I force myself to take class tomorrow?

I have to go Monday as we have rehearsal but before then should I rest or make myself go or maybe take exercise at home?

Any thoughts welcome.

I have been looking forward to this my whole life .. it's a dream for me so I want to do well.

I work so very hard and I don't want a stupid cold to ruin it for me.

Annoyingly I am a person with chronic pain anyhow so seem to suffer more so with aches and pains in general but this cold has messed me up! I could barely plié the other night without pain and my extensions were tragic!


PS I can't see a doctor right now as I don't have health insurance but besides I know this is just a cold.

It normally wouldn't upset me so but this time it's really important I heal fast and get back to my strongest self again right away.


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If you are having aches and pains--on top of sniffling/sneezing/etc., it doesn't sound like it is worth it for you to go to class. It sounds like you should stay home and rest. I think there is a risk that you will hurt yourself in class--and that would be really bad for your upcoming performance. You aren't really getting a lot out of class if you are miserable and cannot follow along as you would when not sick. I am not a doctor, but I think that the best way to build your strength back is to get over the cold first.


I hope you feel better soon! I know it is really distressing to be sick, especially if it is interfering with the things you otherwise love to do. ♥

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Thanks Milkytea :) That all makes lots of sense.. just wondering if I should stretch/roll it out or practice a bit at home?

I guess if it feels ok to then it's ok... but not if it hurts... just so frustrated :ermm:

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If you need to see rehearsals, you can always go and observe. Maybe try a little barre in class and see how you feel (and take your hand sanitizer). If you opt to stay home, you could take some light exercise, like a walk, if you are up to it. Do some light stretching. But above all, honor your body. The last thing you want is to over do it and then have to take even longer to recover!


I like tea with lots of lemon, a scarf around my neck, inhaling steam with some peppermint or lavendar (the old running water in the sink with a towel over your head method). Make sure you drink lots of water to keep things moving and to keep yourself hydrated. I'm sure you'll recover in no time and you'll be fine for your show!

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My thoughts are that when you rest you heal quicker so taking a good couple days rest if possible is going to pay off in the long run. If you did just small things like light stretching not seriously working for better flexibility stretching but keeping things moving kind of stretching (if that makes sense) and maybe just very slow eleves and releves in first while using a counter or chair back for a bar (not on pointe) to keep up some ankle strength... as my teacher always says "listen to your body" do nothing if anything makes you feel miserable. Maybe worth going to the doctor.... oh and if your not already drink lots and lots of water:) Feel better soon!

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I think you could try small stretches/basic practice at home if you aren't pushing yourself. If it feels bad and you feel unwell, then it probably doesn't help.


Everyone's recommendations for fluids/etc. sound pretty good, too. :) It's easy to forget to stay hydrated when you're sick.

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Thanks for the advice. Light stretching sounds good and hot baths ;)

Can't go to doc as have no health insurance sadly right now and costs are too high for me.

I went for a bit of a walk with my dogs and feel a little better for it.

Will not do class tomorrow but wait 'till Monday when I am sure I will feel a lot better, hopefully.

I have to rehearse Monday... just can't disappoint my teacher and fellow performers.. even if I do it on flat.

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Also, if you have a cold you shouldn't go to class as you may spread it to your classmates, who will then be sick just before the performance.

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When we have an important performance coming up, we begin to get sensitive about many things. We want everything to be perfect and sometimes that doesn't turn out to be. Perform often enough and it's almost certain to happen. What one needs to do is to learn to take things in stride. Easier said than done, I recognize. I think that's one of those things that we only learn through experience. I'd recommend trying my best to think of this as an experience to learn from. Try different things and see how you feel about what you try.


With respect to colds, I've heard it said that if you take care of yourself with meds, lots of rest, and all the other remedies you will get better in about 7 days. If you do nothing, it will take about a week. Don't know if that's true, but believe it.


If I were you, I would go to every class and every rehearsal. If I couldn't finish a class, I'd stop and sit out the rest of class. If I felt too bad to go to class or rehearsal, I'd give myself an easy class at home and do some stretching as best I could. I'd also do some mental rehearsing--visualizing my performance, mentally rehearsing with the music. If I caught myself having any negative thoughts, I'd take my dogs for a good walk, thinking about my dog walking skills rather than how I feel. No negativity allowed.


I'm not saying you should do what I would do. Just saying what I would do.

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The best thing to do is stay home and rest...you will feel better quicker. Plus you decrease the risk of spreading your illness to your fellow performers. You still have two weeks before the performance...a day of rest will do your body good.

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Garyect, great advice thanks :)

I DID take Saturday off but I will definitely be at rehearsal tomorrow! And I will do all I can to work hard and do as good a job as possible.


By the way, most people don't know these things about colds, but you are not contagious when you already showing symptoms, the period when you are most contagious is when you are not even showing symptoms yet and its actually not THAT easy to get a cold from someone unless you spend up to 8 hours with them (hence kids in school, teachers and people in hospitals being more susceptible). Interesting facts so best just go about your life really. People tend to be a bit paranoid when they hear a sneeze ;) Found all this interesting info and so much more while home sick and bored.


Anyhow my muscle pains are gone thank god and my sniffles are minimal at this point :) Hurrah! I am going to really ramp things up this week!

I just want to do the best job I can.

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I'm glad your muscle pains are gone~ I hope you enjoy and feel like you're getting a lot out of class this week!

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You are still contagious when symptoms first start. Viruses are replicating in the mucous membranes - you expell these particles when you cough and sneeze.

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