Last night, I had a new student in one of my classes who told me she used to dance when she was younger. When I asked her what she'd like from class now, she mentioned better health, which I'm always happy to hear, but also that she wanted to move again. For those of us who dance, whose lives revolve around dance, we completely understand and identify with this feeling. Whether you've been away from dance for personal reasons or injury, returning can be a joyous occasion.
Recently I've had to step away from taking classes for myself which is a tremendous hardship because I find solace in a class both emotionally and physically. Teaching, as much as I love sharing my knowledge and passion for dance, is simply not the same. But there is a peril to teaching as often as I do and that is the overuse injury. We tend to demonstrate steps using the same leg all the time (typically the right) so we can become injured in either the standing leg or working leg because we overuse it. For me, it was a hip flexor issue and I have had to curtail much of my demonstrating on that side.
But after two weeks of being very good to my leg, icing it and heating it often, and keeping it low when I demonstrate, I was able to return to my own class this morning. I was still careful, of course, but I did every exercise in class - and what a joyous occasion it was! I wanted to shout out, "I love dance with every fiber of my being, every cell of my body!" This being LA, probably no one would have even noticed or cared that some middle-aged lady was yelling about ballet.
As much as I teach, as many hours as I spend in the studio, I still love ballet. Love it. LOVE. IT. Returning from an injury makes me realize how important it is to me on so many levels. I write this post not to caution you about taking care of yourself so you can dance til you're old ladies and gentlemen (although you should!) but to encourage you to come back if you've been gone for a while. You will feel the joy in your bones.