fitness

Dealing with Injury

I have been an adult ballet dancer for almost 19 years; I have avoided injuries and never missed a class except for travel. That ended abruptly two weeks ago when I did something to the muscles in my lower back and hip.

Skeleton with a severely twisted spine after dancing too hard

Luckily, it was just before a week-long break at the dance school, so I didn’t miss classes. I did have to miss a couple of swim practices though, as I was pretty much confined to bed for several days. I was not happy. At all.

Thankfully, rest, gentle stretches, and a couple of trips to to the chiropractor’s have me mobile again. I have managed two dance classes this week, though I still feel like a bit like this mushroom:

Cartoon images of a short mushroom working up a sweat while lifting its leg a little. The other dancers at the barre are all achieving perfect high leg lifts.

Part of me thinks I need to start accepting that I am 61 and my risk of injury will continue to grow with age. Part of me says that I have already scaled back to an easier level of class, and I am learning to accept that things like grand pliés will depend on how I feel that day. It’s okay to make accommodations. And part of me thinks I should just shift my perspective. Like these bats, I’m a pretty badass dancer if you look at me the right way.

Diane Harper lives and dances in Ottawa.

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