Really? September 24th is the date of my last entry? I can’t believe it has actually been that long, but when you’re a dancer with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo with a broken foot, and the rest of your friends and colleagues are away performing in China…There’s not really much to write about.
Three weeks in Monaco, totally by myself. It was like having another summer vacation without the friend or fun factor. After carting myself around (or not, as the case was) on crutches for a week, I was told that provided I wore the cast of the bottom of my foot all the time, and if I got a really good pair of shoes (110 Euros and three sizes too large…and did I mention the fact that they were ugly running shoes? Not exactly fitting in with the Monegasque ladies with their designer made bags, shoes, etc…) that I could walk again. At half the speed. And stride. Kind of resembling a man roughly seventy years older than myself. However, I wasn’t complaining, at least I could leave my house, sit by the beach, and go grocery shopping for myself again.
The only drawback about this three-week period, well besides the whole being injured and not performing factor, was that my friends and colleagues were all in China. Not really conducive to telephone or skype calls given the time difference. I did get several e-mails from some of my friends over the course of their tour, but there were many shows of two different full length ballets, and they were kept fairly busy. Like I told them when they all returned triumphantly from the east…I realize now how much I love them! Of course, it’s not like I was totally alone, I spoke with some of my friends at home in Canada, and of course to my family, but I didn’t actually have a real face to face conversation with anyone for almost a month. Although I did give my friends this warning : “If I’m socially awkward for a while after you return, I deeply apologize!”
There I was, back at the sports medicine clinic, after three weeks of doing absolutely nothing except a little apartment improvement (hanging those damn curtains…) and going to the gym almost every day (for upper body work only, of course) I did my x-ray for the third time, this time on a foot that you could finally see the veins on again, but still with a slightly yellow tinge. When the doctor read me the results, this is what transpired:
“That’s what I thought you said….really?”
“Yes, it looks completely normal.”
I could barely believe what I was hearing. After only a little more than a month off, the doctor was telling me my foot looked like a normal foot again.
Now, dancers are probably the worst medical patients on the face of the planet, because we always want nothing more than to be back in studio, jumping and turning again, as if nothing ever went wrong in the first place. I’ve seen many doctors and physiotherapists almost want to tear their hair out over these “stupid dancers”. Whenever I have envisioned myself having an injury in the past, I always thought to myself, I’ll never be like that. I’ll be smart about my body.
I swear when I started to do ballet class again, one of my friends literally had to come up to me, stand in front of my face and say:
“You’ve been dancing for two days and you’re doing relevés already…Stop it”
And there I was, one of those stupid dancers… I really had to pull myself back and be very careful about everything I did, but I really wanted more than anything to be able to dance again and not worry about the condition of my foot any longer.
Three weeks passed. There was pain, I won’t lie, but I was told by many of the dancers who had been through the same type of injury in the past that that’s the normal time period for the pain to subside. It wasn’t by any means debilitating, just something that had to be put up with while my foot and ankle regained its strength. I could barely stand on one leg with a flat foot without falling over when I first started back!
What’s the date today? November 11? As of today (earlier this week actually, but I’m writing this now) I am happy and proud to say that I am now back in the studio day after day dancing at full capacity, as if nothing ever happened. As a matter of fact, we just finished a two-day period making a film version of Scheherazade, in which I participated, jumps and all.
Injury is not an experience which I would care to repeat, but I do believe that it’s a very important step for every dancer to experience. You get an opportunity to spend more time with yourself, and to rediscover how much you love dance, and why you’ve dedicated your life to the art form, and when you return, you have more energy and enthusiasm than ever.