Oh hey, there, locker full of sweaty ballet shoes and rogue leg warmers. Nice to see you again. We’ve only been back at this thing for 2 1/2 days and already you’re in need of a good clean-out. Seriously, you stink. It’s only just the middle of the ballet week and somehow it feels like mid-November. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that our Nutcracker rehearsals started last night. Yup. Day two and we already get to hear those little flute trills as the first few snowflakes sauté onto the stage…but it’s 88 degrees outside!…too soon. But hey, that’s the life of a ballet dancer, right? Always working on what’s next…
Looks relaxing, doesn’t it? I wish. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again; The hardest part of being an injured dancer is not dancing.
Growing up, I never missed a ballet class. Save the occasional stomach ache or family commitment, I was dancing every day after school and you can bet your butt I woke up every damn Saturday morning to trade in cartoons for ballet combinations (with a little help from my mom, I admit). Leaving class early and being MIA from rehearsal does not sit well with me, and yet neither does sitting out to watch.
I’ve been hearing this for a while now: Take care of yourself. Go slowly. You have the right to refuse anything. Don’t push it. You’ve come so far. I know. You’re right. I should take my time. Rest. Slowly retrain my body. This all makes sense. But it has been so long. My friends are all complaining about their sore hips, tight calves and bruised toenails, and I couldn’t be more jealous. To keep myself from shedding a pathetic little tear as I tuck my pointe shoes a little deeper into the
cozy bed dingy locker they’ve been living in all summer, I’m trying to look on the bright side of things. I mean, this is a prime opportunity to tweak my problem areas (if I don’t come out of this recovery period with a relaxed neck and shoulders, so help me…) and enjoy the luxury of a slow-paced return to ballet, a concept that is about as unlikely as ordering clam chowder in Paris.