I Am A Terrible Patient, Or, Perhaps I Should Get Serious About Ballet Conditioning
It turns out I did strain a muscle in my calf. It was only mildly sore after class yesterday, but was pretty painful by the time the opera ended. I got Denis to look at it this morning; he was able to diagnosed the problem and suggest a treatment plan.
I don’t have to stop dancing or anything. I just need to do some physical therapy stuff to get it back up to speed (pointed-toe leg curls and extensions with ankle weights, basically).
I still need to work on my shoulder as well.
I am a terrible physio patient. It’s not that I don’t want to do my exercises; it’s that I can’t seem to remember. I’m also afraid of doing them wrong, so then I don’t want to do them when Denis isn’t home to supervise, but I’m also afraid to do them when he is home because I might be “doin’ it rong*.”
That’s just silly. Denis isn’t going to yell at me if I do it wrong; he’ll just correct my technique and move on.
I’ve realized that I probably need to put together a more formal physical conditioning program; maybe join a class or something**. I’m lucky to have a body that adapts readily to physical challenges, but I’m also asking a lot of it.
I’ve realized that over the break I lost a lot of strength and also managed to decondition my feet: the strain in my right leg is almost certainly the result of jumping back into a class that my body has deconditioned too much to handle (to be fair, the cold weather probably didn’t help).
I tend to forget that I’m human and that for most of the time I danced as a kid, I was also taking on some really helpful conditioning in the form of gymnastics training; likewise, in high school, even the non-major classes in dance were like two hours each day, with a big chunk devoted to physical conditioning. I wasn’t just miraculously able to do amazing stuff with my body without injury; I was actively participating in a conditioning program designed to maximize performance while minimizing injury.
I’ve been wary of taking on strength training or whatever because I’m afraid I’ll wind up work my body in ways that are counterproductive for me as a dancer. I suppose the answer is to maybe make a couple of appointments with a knowledgeable physical trainer who can help me figure out how to get my crap together. My birthday is coming up, so maybe I’ll mention that to Denis. Then again, he might even be equipped to help me develop a suitable training program (the knowledge-bases of physiotherapists and physical trainers do overlap to some extent).
In short, a sound physical training program built around the demands of ballet will make me a better dancer and will also reduce the likelihood of injury, which will in turn allow me to keep doing stuff I’m good at (like grand battement, petite allegro, and apparently chaines) and make sure I don’t spend too much time doing one of the things I’m worst at (being a patient).
*True Story: teh Googs knows me too well o.O I Googled physical therapy ur doing it rong” in hope of finding a ready-made meme; instead, the first hit was an article from Dance magazine about how dancers land themselves in PT and what physios say we’re doing wrong o.O
**I realized after writing this that “a class” would probably have to be taught by a trainer familiar with the unique demands that ballet makes on the body. Like, I need to get stronger without reducing range of motion anywhere, and I particularly need to keep from compromising my turnout.