One of the most feared nightmare of a dancer is not being able to dance, especially when being restricted by none other than your own body. Injuries, although a pain in the ass (apologies if it’s a tad bit crude), are inevitable. As of now, I’m recovering from a stubbed toe where I crashed from a landing during rehearsals. I am 90% healed as according to my own judgement. However, I do know how frustrating and demotivating it gets when an injury manages to appear. And so I’ve compiled some tips that I’ve learnt from my own experience to get your mind off your injury.
#1 Don’t force yourself.
HAH! I’m a total sucker for this. Every time I manage to injure myself, I’ve always had a habit for pushing myself even further than I actually should for my physical health. Yes, it is frustrating to not be able to do the things you’ve been training so hard on. Yes, you feel like you’re missing out from your dance training. Yes, a part of your subconscious tells you that you’re perfectly fine! But the actual fact is, the more you push, the longer it takes for the injury to completely heal, causing you to be off the floor for a longer period. So it would do you much good if you take all the rest you need before getting back into the dance scene.
#2 Try watching videos of other dancers who’ve been injured.
May it be dancers who talk generally about injury or speaking from their own experience, searching for such videos may remind you that you’re not the first and certainly not the last dancer to get injured. It may even inspire you as well as encourage you that there is a light ahead of the tunnel because if they can get back up, so can you! (P.S. my personal favourite is watching New York City Ballet’s principal dancer, Sara Mearns. Watching her speak of her back injury made me realise that it’s not all doom and gloom).
#3 Keep going for other performances.
This is one of the hardest things to do. Watching others perform even a simple step is a stab to the heart, but fret not! Using this time to watch allows you to learn from other dancers even more, while having to reflect on your own dance progress. As I was stretching in my ballet class (because that’s all I can do with my injury), I realise that I still gain guidance not from my teachers, but my peers as I observe what I like and don’t like in their dancing. The same goes for performances. Try going to performances of dance genres other than your expertise, and learn what you can incorporate into your own dancing that can make your own artistic movements more unique and rich. When you can’t learn from your own feet, you can learn from a stage elsewhere.
It’s been almost two months since my injury happened, and I’m slowly getting myself back into dancing. This is one of my longest dance injury recovery and a little part of me is grateful for it. I’ve learnt to be more aware of my body by listening to it. And with that, I feel more in control of my body than before. I have a line up of dance projects coming up and I’m super excited about it! I hope that all you fellow dancers out there who read this find this helpful, if not reassuring. I wish for speedy recovery for those who are injured and happy dancing to those who are well.