As many of you will know, last week in ballet class I only went and tore my calf muscle. One minute I was just about to glissade my way into a split leap, and the next minute I feel something like a taut elastic band snapping inside my leg, before falling over in excrutiating pain.
Since then I've been on crutches after a visit to A&E.
Injury is part of a dancers life and so far this is my third injury which has put me out of action. But whilst injury may come part and parcel with such a technically and physically difficult artform such as ballet, it doesn't make it any easier to cope with. It would not be an exaggeration to tell you that my heart is breaking at the thought of not dancing for weeks or even months. I have heard the expression, "Dancers don't want to dance, they need to dance" and have never felt that more accutely than now. Ballet has a been a huge part of my life for almost 5 years now, so to find myself without it has left me a bit lost.
Still, it hasn't stopped me buying new pointe shoes and Yumiko leotards, anticipating my happy return to dance next year! I have ordered the Sofiane in pale pink velvet and the Laura in a pretty shade of earthy green. And of course, I will be teaming them with pieces from our Danseuse label, which will be launching in a few weeks hopefully.
None of the leotards will be here this year but hopefully they will arrive in time for my return.
In the meantime, I am trying to learn ways to protect myself for having this happen again after I have recovered. Unfortunately it's usually only after suffering an injury that you really bother to properly take care of your muscles or at least learn the reasons why it might happen. Calf strains and tears are ridiculously common in dancers due to the amount of jumps and turns we do, but after a little conversation with Juliet Burnett from the Australian Ballet I learned that there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the instances of such injuries, such as slow rises in parallel. I watched the Australian Ballet do this in class during World Ballet Day and wondered why, but as it turns out it's to reduce calf strains. So whilst I can't do anything on the injured leg at the moment, when I do start my programme of physiotherapy I will be including parallel rises into the mix.
Crutches bring their own challenges too, such as navigating your way around public transport. For the most part people are helpful but the ones who aren't, really aren't. Luckily Prince B has been there to help me on and off buses to and from work, which has made a shitty situation more bearable. He's also there ready with a withering glare for those people who insist upon sitting on the seats for the less able and won't move. If Prince B tells you to move, you better move!
I have also been doing tiny little micro stretches when sitting at my desk or at home and can now at least put my foot almost flat on the ground. When I do hobble about without my crutches at home, I bear more than a passing resemblence to Ozzie Osbourne.
I can at least be thankful that there are only a few weeks left of ballet class before stopping for the holidays anyway, so I won't be missing too much of graded class. I only hope I'm back in action before our Grade 5 exam early next year.