An injury can be anything from a simple pulled muscle to severe musculoskeletal trauma. Depending on the severity you may be able to continue working and training, you may need a day or two off, or you may end up missing weeks or months. You need to be smart about your injuries, listen to your body and go from there. If it's a minor injury there's no reason not to continue training, and adapt your practice to work around the injury until it's healed. Speak with your director, choreographers and teachers, let them know the situation with your injury and have them work with it. Accept you may lose a part for a little while, it's better that than allowing something minor to turn into a chronic problem.
|Xray of a dancer's foot en pointe with spiral fracture to 5th metatarsal. (c) Schoene, 2005|
Dancers are renowned for working through pain. It's a tribute to the commitment people have for their art that they are willing to do whatever they need to to continue performing. From the outset of training en pointe through to the often idiotically macho displays of injured dancers throwing themselves full pelt through a performance and barely able to walk out of the theatre afterwards, pain is often accepted as part of the game we're in. Pain from the training stages of dancing en pointe - part of life, the skin toughens, we get on with it. Pain from an injury that you refuse to let you stop performing - not so black and white. You need to address injuries when they occur.
Stupidity and ego costs; it damages our health and opens us up to further injury and complications down the line. There is no shame in taking time off to let yourself heal if that's what you need to do. Better a few days or weeks missed, than months or years of treatment and pain.
|NYCB Principal Sara Mearns’ feet by Henry Leutwyler 2012 (c)|