There’s no secret to how hard we push our bodies. Ask any physio therapist that has ever worked with a dancer and they’ll tell you. Our bodies go through hell and back and we rarely take care of it until it’s really bad. From sore muscles to broken bones, from one week off work to a full year. You name it, it’s probably happened. There really isn’t so much humor in injuries. We all know, tragedy + time = comedy. But still, it’s really not funny when someone injures themselves on stage, in class, or even walking on the street. (Ok, I’ll admit. It’s mildly funny when a dancer goes off because they’ve twisted their ankle walking on the street. I mean how is it that we can dance around on our toes all day but we can’t walk on cobble stones? I know. I know. I’m going straight to hell.) Anyways, It’s usually pretty heart breaking for a dancer not to be able to dance. I, for example, can’t hide when I’m in pain. I will let everyone know verbally or through overly dramatic massaging movements on and around the point of said injured spot. I will milk the shit out my injury so that everyone knows that I’m dying a slow and painful death, but I’m still in class. Suffering in silence? What? No way. I’m such a drama queen that way. But some dancers are incredible. They’ll literally dance an entire ballet (with a smile on their face!) come off stage and, oops, turns out they dislocated their knee in that last jump. No joke. It’s that intense. The audience has no idea. That’s why when those soccer players get kicked in the shins or whatever and are curled up in a ball whining I’m like, come on! Get up and stop crying! Go do 32 fouettes with no toe nails and then maybe we’ll talk.
It’s very rare to find a dancer that isn’t in some sort of pain at all times. It constantly feels like once one pain starts to go away, there’s suddenly a new one that creeps up on you from behind with a kitchen knife and a ‘Scream’ mask. “What’s your favorite scary movie Sidney?” Boom! Tendonitis in your achilles. I have to say though, there is something amazing about the stage. Once you get on stage suddenly all the pain goes away. My mom calls it “Doctor Stage” (which actually sounds like it could be the title of a scary movie) but it’s true! You could be on crutches, no, in a wheelchair paralyzed from the waist down but the second you get on that stage you forget everything and just dance. Ok, that last one was a bit of an exaggeration. But you get what I’m saying. We can barely walk up the stairs in the morning to get to class yet when there’s a show suddenly all the muscle aches and pains, all the over-stretched this, that, and the other are healed and you just go out there and do it. It’s either that or all the Advil we’re all hopped up on. Either or.