My Inspirations Before a New Work Day

Today is my first full work-day at the studio.

After four months of doing just almost physical therapy, I am writing this post with a new leotard on and drinking a morning smoothie. Getting ready for a new day of company work.

I started to read David Hallberg's "A Body of Work," and it is perfect for this time in particular, as I am coming back from rest. He stopped for two years after double foot surgery (I still don't get to this part of the book, but the introduction gives you a glimpse of his day and how he felt when he could not take a ballet class or rehearse at all).

Lauren Cuthbertson's Nowness video is also a great inspiration to kickstart this day. On stage, she suffered a major injury and that video reflects her coming back (the video is shown below, as well as a link to my shop to buy Hallberg's book).

Lastly, Steven McRae, my ultimate favorite dancer, is also on a journey to recovery. His social media reflects a positive side of starting again with patience and mental strength. This morning, his message was, "Sometimes the hardest battle is against yourself. It's a new week full of challenges and opportunities. Be kind to yourself. Set yourself goals but remember you are human!"

These are the things that remind me that we all go through injuries. However, we all have the opportunity to recover and come back stronger. David, Lauren, and Steven's examples are just a few of many.

As small as my injury was, I am still thankful for the opportunity to reset and start again.

These are my inspirations for a new work day after a long, long break. If you were in the same situation, what would yours be?


 

Injury Update 3: Starting Again

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After four long months, I am finally holding the barre again!

On Monday, I had my very LAST doctor's appointment and had my last session of physical therapy on Saturday.

But going back in time, during my last physical therapy sessions, they were applying a method called "Iontophoresis," which consists of delivering anti-inflammatory medicine directly to the affected area through electrical stimulation. After four of those sessions, I started to feel better and better and proceeded to do more advanced exercises.

No surgery was needed!

I am thankful that my therapist was also a dancer, so she was confident that I could start with small ballet steps and use them as part of my recovery.

Going back to Monday, the doctor gave me an all-clear. However, he knows that ballet is a high-impact activity, and warned me to take extreme care for not starting too fast. Of course, he also told me to keep doing my therapy exercises every day to keep strengthening the affected joint.

I have already taken a few classes and cross-trained a bit more. I definitely feel better, and for sure am very sore. But I know that I do not have to be perfect and that after such a long time without class, the process of recovering and getting back to the shape I was before, needs to be slow. 

If you are wondering how the foot is, I feel it with almost no pain and has a higher range of movement with no difficulties. I just have to be careful to now force my turnout and lift my arches at all times, as doing the contrary makes the ankle angry. (And forcing my ankles' turnout might have been one of the reasons the tendon was suffering on the first place).

I did not kill myself in during my first class at the studio. I knew I was not going to keep up with all the exercises. Luckily, I also have a barre at home so I can keep going with slow-paced movements.

If you are injured, make sure to always think positive, because you will come back stronger!

I will keep you updated with my progress.

Thank you for reading and for your support during this journey.

 

Journey to a Healthy Body: Conditioning

Steven McRae training during his injury recovery.

Steven McRae training during his injury recovery.

Sometimes we wonder why we cannot improve faster. 

And I think the reality for ballet dancers is that ballet class and rehearsals alone are not enough for our career's demands. And for those that are not dancers and reading this, you might say, "what?! don't they do enough already?"

Well, yes. We do a lot. But the reality is that conditioning and supporting our body with things like Pilates, cross training, Gyro tonics and related, will for sure help us create a longer and safer career as well as dance better: with better stamina and better strength, as well as helping us with injury recovery (a face I am now).

During my student years, I never really had the chance to cross train (and I wish I did open some of my free time to work on it). And to be honest, I am about to turn 21 years old, and I have realized the positive impact additional training has in my technique when I actually do it: I feel stronger and able to do far more things, far easier.

But both you and I know that it is not easy to find the motivation to cross-train every day.

It will take time to build this habit. So before setting a routine, know that you will give up some days, or not train every day, or maybe forget or be too busy or too tired to do it.

I will start with some days a week, for an hour and a half. And keep building the habit in order to make it an everyday thing.

So no matter if you are a student or a professional, or maybe starting your professional career like me, know that conditioning and taking care of your body will be the best thing for your career along the way.

Just make sure you do not overdo it. Your body will scream even louder than if you don’t do anything at all.

From here on, and especially because I am getting older, I am going to try and open a time every day for any additional activity that will help and support my technique. Like this, I know that my career will be longer and more fulfilling.

Who wants to join me?

 

PLUS: Watch Royal Ballet's Ed Watson prepare for the demanding ballet Mayerling. See his cross-training routines and physical therapy sessions. Fantastic!

 

Injury Recovery 2: Clearing the Path

My MRI as for June 2018.

My MRI as for June 2018.

The road is clearing up!

I know I have not been active on social media (or my blog) lately. While I have been busy working for both Tampa City Ballet and America’s Ballet School’s administrative side, I have not been in the mood for posting anything, really. But here is an update:

Finally, after not feeling better after those 5-6 weeks of therapy directed by the doctor, they ordered an MRI. Turns out, I do have a small tear on the tendon.

Good news is, the path is clearing up. The doctor gave me two options: Therapy with ultrasound (which is supposed to be effective on small tears), or have surgery to clean and repair the area.

I have decided to go to the therapy path for two weeks to see how things go. If I am not better, the surgery is the next step.

I am for sure desperate to get to hold the ballet barre again… however, I have to remember that these things happen to everyone and that I am young and full of opportunity to recover quickly.

Will keep you updated while this lasts. Planning to get back into blogging soon!

Life Update: Injury Recovery

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I have been quiet for some time now, and this is because I am not able to dance for at least five weeks. Also, I have been working very hard helping my director organize the premiere of Tampa City Ballet this 27th of May.

So, this is what I have been up to:

I got worried once I felt that pull in my ankle, and it turns out that it is my first (and hopefully last) foot injury. After the "accidental landing" happened and the bruise disappeared, I took barre (only) for about two weeks, until I got to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.

He told me I might have a tear on my peroneus brevis or peroneus longus (tendons surrounding the ankle, beside the Achilles tendon), and that I should be off dance for at least five weeks. I had already had two weeks on and off, but today (May 22st), marks the start of my fourth week completely off.

I still got three more weeks until I see the doctor again; and in the meantime, I am going to physical therapy to strengthen my foot. Additionally, I have added some gym sessions here and there to stay in shape.

Of course, being patient as a dancer is a hard task. Steven McRae, my favorite dancer, recently got surgery and I cannot feel more related to the situation.

I am trying to maintain a positive attitude toward this situation. I now get to discover my body's limits and work hard to get in shape. Moreover, it is an opportunity to think in what ways I can improve my technique even more once I start dancing again.

During my time off the studio and the stage, I have also had the opportunity to learn and improve some business skills (not my intended career, but anything I can learn, I will learn). During the whole month of May, I have administrated (alongside the organization team) the Premiere of Tampa City Ballet, "AfterImage," working with its website, the dancers' contracts, the programs, social media, tickets, theatre logistics, and numerous other tasks in order to make the performance possible.

These are the main reasons why I have been quiet after the launch of the new Claudia's Journal.

Watching others dance, sitting in the studio's front desk all day, makes me angry and sad at the same time. However, I try to stick to the excitement of waiting how much I will be able to do once I am fully recovered.

For all those that have been injured, I now understand how it feels. But let's try not to be unmotivated about it. It is better to recover fully than to push the injury for a longer period of time.

I cannot wait to put on my ballet shoes again.

My foot the day after I accidentally fell wrong from a petit allegro jump.

My foot the day after I accidentally fell wrong from a petit allegro jump.