I’ve only been dancing for a little over a year now but I can’t even begin to cover all the changes and impacts that dancing has had on my life in just one blog post! Couldn’t do it if I tried. And I’m not going to try. Because what I’d like to talk about is what happens when you can’t dance. So as you know, I’ve had this injury. It’s not a life changing injury, in fact, if you didn’t know because I’m mouthy and told you – you wouldn’t know. I’m not required to wear a boot on the promise that I will only wear sturdy, supportive shoes and keep my walking about to a minimum. I’ve tried but truth be told, I totally can’t hang with that completely. For the most part, I’ve been good out of necessity – wearing high heels makes my foot swell up and makes me very, very sad. I love high heels and am woefully short in flat shoes. But I’ve dealt, I even went to the ballet in flats – they were J. Crew ballet flats though so it wasn’t so bad. We won’t even discuss the I heart NY sweatshirt – it was cold! and I didn’t pack for an English summer, I packed for an American summer and NY went all crazy on me so it wasn’t my fault! We shall not discuss it, thanks.
But I still have not been able to go to ballet class and as I will not be able to see the physiotherapist for another couple of weeks, I haven’t been okay-ed to do much of anything. I knew that I was going to have to begin to really really watch what I eat because when you are very short, calories have a way of collecting themselves EVERYWHERE, hunkering down, and staying for a while. Knowing this hasn’t helped all that much when not being able to dance and worrying about healing and whether or not this is going to be an issue from now and how much of an issue is it going to be means that Reese’s peanut butter cups and Cheez-Its are suddenly extremely tempting. I keep saying that I’ll do better and then the next “thing” happens and I decide that lobster mac & cheese will make me feel better and not be THAT bad. Seriously though, guys, I’m going to really have to do better because I have some beautiful new stuff to wear to class and I want to be able to fit it in.
But that’s not all that I’ve noticed. I’ve been amazed at how much of ballet class transfers over to the rest of life and one of the most incredible things is feeling taller, lighter, and longer. For someone 5ft tall, feeling long and tall is like some insane kind of dream! I’m a sloucher, I have a tendency to start to collapse in on myself and go into a fetal position pretty much all the time. I’m comfortable that way. But ballet has had a way of pulling me out of that collapsed position and made me comfortable with that too. More comfortable that I would have imagined I would be about feeling tall and long and limber. Does that sound strange? I mean, we all wish we were tall and long and limber but if I’m honest, since I’ve never even considered that as a possibility, I sort of thought that I would find it a strange, unnatural fit on me… like trying to wear a maxi dress or super low rise skinny jeans… yeah, not for me. But somehow ballet made it fit, ballet made me something more than I thought I could be and made me happy about it. Ballet also gave me a lightness in my movement, a feeling that I could bound up into a jump or turn with any step of my choosing. There was a sense of walking “up,” of moving upwards no matter what direction I was actually walking in.
I feel like I’m losing that, a little bit more each day. I feel the weight of everything, my head, my shoulders, my legs, and feet. I’m collapsing again. It’s not just the fact that I’m having to wear nothing but flat shoes, which is driving me nuts, that’s making me feel short and squat, it’s the lack of balletic work. I know that when I’m healed I will get back to class and I will get the wonderful feeling of length back but for now, it’s a little disconcerting – the weight of not dancing.
I know it’s nothing like a replacement, but can you do floor barre or something similar where you aren’t on your feet. just to help you keep that feeling of length. Or gyrotonic which has a real feeling of flow. I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery. Get dancing soon.
Thanks, Katharine. What makes it tough is that I’m supposed to be “resting” the entire leg. I’m already cheating because really what can you do AND rest one entire leg when you’ve only got two and most things that require one leg actually require both legs!?! I started doing some floor barre and stretching today and am now very glad for Napoxen. It’s hard to do anything and not manipulate through the leg and foot in some way… and, of course, now I just always want to point the foot, which I’m NOT supposed to do.
I’m just happy to know that when I’m able to get back to class, I know that ballet will be there, waiting for me 😀
I hope you get well soon! 🙂 I loved this post, so pure!
Thank you 🙂