Category Archives: injuries
I think this might not be as true in an improv setting — but working technique, I really wrestled with it.
There was a lot of, “Can I do this?”
Or, well —”Should I do this?”
Can hasn’t been the problem, generally.
So we really focused a lot of, basically, the falling down part of modern — the safety release, wherein you fall through a roll over a sickled foot and, amazingly, A) your ankle doesn’t break and B) Agrippina Vaganova does not appear in a cloud of sulphur to drag you away to the place where Bad Ballet Dancers go. Mainly because, let’s face it, she doesn’t countenance modern to begin with.
So I managed both to lay down some impressive bruises on the metatarsophalangeal joints of both my feet and to finally lay down some nice safety releases, even in the ones falling from a standing position, which make my inner Russian completely foam at the mouth.
Beyond that, I couldn’t remember a sequence to save my life today, in part because of the ever-present fear of exacerbating my injury (so confuse — very distraction — wow) and in part because, I dunno, wrong phase of the moon, or what have you.
Sadly, even Modern T eventually caught my Sequence Learning Disorder, and we all got pretty confused.
Fortunately for Modern T and my fellow student, R, however, I had to stop before we really worked the final sequence.
The afternoon’s choreography session became more like a planning session with dancing, and that was fine. It is really hard to remember to turn off the turnout. On the other hand (other foot?) we percolated some cool stuff that involves one dancer in a more modern style (with strong ballet lineage) partnering another who uses a strictly classical ballet style.
It yields an effect like two people speaking two dialects of the same language, sometimes with great harmony and sometimes with miscommunication — which, in turn, really works for the production we’re hatching.
We also made some programming changes, which is fine. Little by little, we’re creating a thing that is coming to have a shape and a structure. Elements of the actual choreography are beginning to gel, so for the next few sessions I’ll be selecting a couple of pieces of music for each so we can begin to create more detailed sketches.
Some will be a challenge to implement because we have two dancers and not six (or twelve) — but we can begin to lay down paths and shapes, and that will be a good start.
I also blood to regard my current injury not as a frustrating in this process, but as the kind of limitation of uses to challenge one’s self.
I need to think, “Okay, I shouldn’t jump right now — what can I do here instead?”
Tomorrow I’m back.to the aerials studio, though with limitations and with and supervision by my charming PT/husband 🙂
*Insofar as I am capable of ever being serious about anything, ever, because I am a focused person, a dedicated person, an all-of-that-kind-of-stuff person, but serious? I’m not sure that’s the best descriptor, really, where I’m concerned.
I am thinking about injuries, and my history of accumulating them, and being like, “Ha! Ohai! I haz hurted myself again,” and then basically making jokes about it because that’s way easier than actually admitting that I’m hella pissed at myself.
But, like, I am.
Pissed at myself, that is (for my Brits: I don’t mean I’m drunk at myself, I mean I’m mad at myself … this time … which you probably already knew from context because you’re smart, but somehow my inner Smart-Alec just wouldn’t let me not say it).
Or, well, I was.
And then I realized that I’m looking at this incorrectly.
I have a habit of injuring myself mildly, which just happens in Teh Ballets and in life at large sometimes, because humans can be careful but can’t be perfect.
Injuring myself mildly from time to time wouldn’t be a big deal in and of itself.
The problem is that I also then have a problem of doing things that exacerbate minor injuries and turn them into major ones, like I did this week.
I’ve been mad at myself because I was like, “That’s just careless.”
Except, it’s not. Carelessness isn’t the problem.
The problem is that I don’t perceive pain normally and I’m stupidly hypermobile (okay, and my drive to do things like dance and aerials often exceeds my limited supply of common sense).
So, basically, parts of me don’t start hurting when they should, then stop hurting before they should. The level of pain I experience does not accurately reflect the severity of any given injury, nor do they reflect how much it has healed.
Theoretically, the deep muscle in my “thut” (that’s thigh-butt; you can thank my aerials instructors for that one!) that I could barely use yesterday should be causing a shedload of pain today, but it actually doesn’t hurt at all**.
**Maybe it would if I tried to do the things I’m not supposed to do. Maybe it wouldn’t. I don’t plan to find out the hard way. At any rate, it should at least be sore.
Note to self: THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT EVERYTHING IS FINE.
Likewise, parts of me stretch in ways that increase the likelihood of injury under certain circumstances. This is partly due to associated abnormalities in proprioception and pain perception (see above) and partly due to the fact that greater flexibility often correlates with reduced strength.
Not that I’m not strong; I’m just not necessarily strong in the places that will prevent me from doing things like yoinking the crap out of my turnout muscles.
I haven’t been treating this seriously. I’ve been too busy being delighted about the things that my abnormal pain perception and hypermobility let me do to be willing to countenance the fact that they also predispose me to injuries that I could better avoid if I was, basically, less weird.
As they say: “You take the good with the bad.” And I’ve been trying only to take the good, without accounting for the bad.
This past week, I turned a minor strain into a major one and bought myself several days off dancing and a term of about six weeks to full recovery (with appropriate management).
I wasn’t being careless. Things just didn’t hurt, so I carried on as usual. My leg was a little stiff and sore in the morning, but felt okay enough by the time class rolled around, and really quite okay indeed by the time trapeze class rolled around — so I proceeded with business as usual.
This is the same approach that bought me a layoff of a couple of months last year, followed by a long reconditioning period.
Obviously, a rate of one serious injury per year is quite a bit higher than is really sustainable.
So, in additional to healing, I plan to spend the next several weeks learning how to prevent injuries to my specific body. Clearly, this will mean developing both better awareness of what’s going on in my body and a greater willingness to turn to my live-in Physio (AKA my husband, Denis) when I think I have a minor injury and follow his advice.
And, of course, because I like to write about everything (if nothing else, it serves as a kind of external backup drive), I’ll probably be writing about this process here.
So there you have it. Some insights about injuries that I don’t think I really had before.
Also a terrifying picture of my butt. Holy chromoly. Who stuffed ‘roid-raging weasels down my tights?!
… A little literary navel-gazing today.
I’m making some adjustments to Strangers, but also trying to figure out the answers to some writing questions.
Specifically, Toby and Phinny are co-protagonists, and it’s clear to me what Toby is after, as a character: he really wants to understand a dark, painful, and muddled period in his past so he can, like, move on with his life or something (okay, yeah, that sounds pretty vague). He also wants Phinny.
Phinny continues to be a bit of a problem child: I don’t know exactly what he wants in the story. To an extent, I suppose he wants to avoid the exact confrontation with his past (that is, his and Toby’s mutual past) that Toby wants and needs, but that avoidance thing serves Toby’s story better than it serves Phinny’s. Likewise, he is attracted and even a bit drawn to Toby, but not with the singularity of intention that draws Toby to him.
Beyond that, he is mostly a guy who has what he wants in the world: he’s spent his life preparing to become a dancer and has done so with no small success; he has grown up in a loving-if-somewhat-distracted family and maintains a good relationship with his parents and his kajillion brothers and sisters; he has good friends within his company; he likes traveling and as such enjoys the fact that I Travesti spends most of the year touring. He certainly wants love in the romantic sense, but I don’t think he feels any pressure about it — he is focused, instead, on dancing.
This doesn’t mean he’s a well-adjusted “whole person” — he absolutely isn’t, and in some ways he has constructed his entire so he never needs to deal with the trauma of his past. He never stays in any one place very long; he lives a secure, cloistered life in which he is almost never alone with his thoughts, let alone with a potential romantic partner; his relationship with Peter is at once primary, quasi-romantic, and asexual (Peter is basically the straightest man who has ever made a living by performing classical ballet in drag); he is at once aware of his own desirability and protected from its consequences by the people around him.
So getting to grips with his own past is a thing Phinny needs to do (or will, someday, need to do), but also a thing he feels no pressure to do, as he has carefully crafted a life that prevents situations in which he might feel said pressure.
Likewise, he doesn’t suffer from Toby’s central problem, which is a nagging guilt. Toby’s as driven by a need for absolution as he is by a need to understand what the frack actually happened; they are faces of the same coin. Phinny’s damage is more abstract (possibly because, ironically enough, the Bad Things in his history are more concrete — though also because he avoids it all so effectively).
So there’s that question: What is Phinny after, if he isn’t just a passive vehicle in this story? And, of course, does he reach whatever his goal is?
None of these difficulties get in the way of actual writing, of course — I’m a “Write first, ask questions later” kind of guy — but they will, sooner or later, come to bear on the novel as a whole.
Since I’m Taking A Couple of Days Off, I plan to spend a bit of time with Toby and Phinny and see what comes of it.
In other news, this injury means keeping work in turn-out to a minimum for a bit, and my inner Ballet Wonk is busy throwing a fit about that. I mean, in the long run, it’s important — the muscle I’ve managed to injure (which was secondary to the Groin Pull of Doom) is one of the major turnout muscles, and if I want to keep my turnout in the long run, I need to let it heal. But FFS, how do you ballet when you can’t turnout? Bleh.
(Yeah, I know — #FirstWorldBalletProblems)
I have also decided that I need to educate myself on how to manage minor injuries so I don’t turn them into major ones. Abnormal pain perception has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages, and this is one. Things don’t always hurt when they should (especially once my muscles are warm), so I wind up exacerbating injuries or adding new ones.
The groin pull wouldn’t have been a terribly big deal by itself, but I wound up injuring another muscle because of the way muscles compensate for one-another, and that’s the kind of thing I need to learn to avoid.
On the upside, I managed to prevent myself from sleeping in a face-down turned-out left retiré (seriously, I sleep that way most of the time, or in the butterfly/frog position — I mentioned this to B, and she said, “No wonder your turnout is so good!”), so I at least woke up far less sore than I have been.
Anyway, onward and upward, what what.