Being injured is never fun, especially when you are a dancer. If you are currently dealing with an injury, have dealt with an injury in the past, or are fortunate enough to not yet experience an injury (knock on wood), you will definitely want to continue reading. Some of our favorite dance teachers at the Institute of Dance Artistry share how they keep dance in their lives while recovering from an injury.
As some of you may remember, last spring, Miss Amy suffered from a sudden torn ACL.
“It totally bummed me out,” says Amy, “I was really sad at first.”
Over the summer she had a tendon allograft, which is more commonly known as an ACL reconstruction. After Miss Amy had the surgery she felt hopeful that her body would soon be back to normal and ready to dance.
Similarly, Miss Becky had a torn ACL in addition to a torn MCL and meniscus tear. Unlike Miss Amy’s sudden injury, Becky’s original knee incident happened during her junior year of college. Due to Becky’s strenuous dance career over the years, the overuse made her injury worse.
“I believe this injury happened because I was turning out incorrectly. I was trying to mimic what my teachers’ and peers’ turn-out looked like instead of listening to my own body,” Becky says.
In hopes to fully heal her knee, Miss Becky had a hamstring graft and a knee repair. Although she was nervous to have the surgery, Becky was excited when the procedure was completed so she could come back in the Fall ready to dance again.
During her recovery, Miss Amy stayed involved and committed to IDA, spending numerous hours working in the office through the summer. She updated the IDA Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts as well as sewing pointe shoes for her current students. Miss Amy took on an administrative role as stage manager for IDA’s Summer Dance Intensive I and II. In addition, Miss Amy was also the costume designer, lighting manager, and sound controller for the black box theatre performances.
Similarly, Miss Becky had to take the summer off from teaching due to her injury as well. During this time off, she concentrated on the things that would prepare her for returning in the fall. “I have been focusing on my physical therapy,” Becky says, “I’ve also been brainstorming various choreographic ideas. Since I’ve had a break from constantly choreographing as a full-time dance teacher, it almost was refreshing for myself as a teacher and choreographer to really create something brand new.”
Aside from taking some time off from teaching at the Institute of Dance Artistry, Miss Amy also needed to cut back participating in rehearsals for the various companies she dances with. Although Amy could not fully dance during her recovery, she still is gave her 100% in rehearsals with the tap company she dances with.
“In my rehearsals and company classes with The Lady Hoofers, I sit out and take choreography notes the entire time,” Amy says. “I would encourage my students who need to sit out, due to an injury or illness, to do the same.” Amy later reads through her notes and goes over the choreography in her head so when it is time for her to perform with The Lady Hoofers again, she won’t be behind.
“It is frustrating when you are teaching and dancers will sit and play with their phones,” says Becky as she explains from experience. “I encourage my students to listen to their bodies and sit out if they need to but still stay engaged in the class,” Becky says.
Miss Becky understands that every dancer’s anatomy is different. Becky also believes that her own injury has helped her become a better teacher by understanding that some students’ movement or positions will not look like other students.
“It’s hard when you’re told to sit on the sidelines but it is important for dancers to stay positive,” Becky says. She encourages injured dancers to look at the big picture. It may seem like your injury is the biggest setback in your dance career but allowing your body to heal may just be the best thing.
SO, both Miss Amy and Miss Becky have been researching and collecting music for their classes at IDA this fall. Look out dancers, they are MORE than prepared this year and ready to make you work!