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Faye’s Injury Story

At the end of 2011, I started to have pains in my lower back during arabesques and backbends, and suffered at varying degrees of this state throughout 2012. During the middle of that year, the pain reversed, and my lower back produced stiff, sharp pains upon recovery from an arabesque position, or when curved. It was only up till the autumn months when I started to stop doing arabesques and backbends altogether, which made me feel handicapped and helpless – what is ballet without any derrière position above the a tèrre level? However, I started going into full time training in both contemporary dance and ballet, and the physical stress of the training created muscle spasms in the back, which were so severe that I had to stop dancing for a few weeks, although my winter performances were approaching. There was a Friday during which I could barely walk or move. It was a dark moment, and I felt hopeless about my injury. I had n ever experienced a proper arabesque or backband in about a year without feeling discomfort and pain, and it had seemed like it would never get any better.

Naturally, with lots of rest and physiotherapy, my back did eventually get better, and I was able to perform (with the help of painkillers) in my winter performances. I did a lot of conditioning and mobilising exercises for my lower back which helped to increase its range of movement and increase its endurance to stress. (Hypo-lordosis and a weak back were both causes of the injury) I also started sleeping on hard surfaces, which greatly reduced the stiffness and tightness which my lower back felt in the mornings.

During the time of my injury, I went to watch a dance performance by the Batsheva Dance Ensemble. The recklessly beautiful way in which the dancers moved inspired me to take care of my lower back to be able to move freely and energetically.

Despite the tears, anxiety and doubt of the situation, today, I have just gone through a whole school term doing backbends and arabesques without my injury returning and causing anymore trouble. I am working to increase my back flexibility and strength, and I feel fortunate everyday, when I do not feel the pain anymore. The injury raised my awareness of the way I approach my dance training, and taught me to care for my body. Injuries do not need to be permanent if you put the necessary care into it! Looking forward to recovery was a great motivator for me.

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