Taking an enforced break from dancing can seem like a world away. Despite the fact they are the words no dancer ever wants to hear, there can be a positive side from what could be the worst thing to happen to a dancer: getting injured. Enforced rest can be a chance to stop and take stock whilst your body and mind recuperates. To get the most from dance both the body and mind needs some down-time, so the body’s muscles and nervous system can repair, strengthen and process everything that has been worked on.
Enforced rest and recovery from an injury can be hard to accept at first. To begin with, injured dancers must seek advice from someone who is highly professional in the field of rehabilitation to start the recovery process. As a result there is a large capacity for the dancer to truly understand their dance, the body and correct alignment and technique, and this can be analysed in order to make improvements for the future. Viewing technique objectively from the inside can also help prevent injuries from both occurring and recurring.
The process of healing is extremely individual. Different methods help different dancers, and an injury does not mean a dancer has to stop exercising completely. Whilst it can be a slow and frustrating process trying to undo bad habits and retrain the body, time off from injury is of benefit to this dance development. In most cases dancers will benefit from continuing to move the body, with effective methods of conditioning for a dancer such as Pilates. In terms of rehabilitation, the injury will mean a structured and personalised plan in order to heal in the most effective way.
Injuries can teach dancers how to listen to the body, and they often recover stronger: physically and mentally. It is important to stay positive. Learn as much as you can about your injury, and focus on understanding as much as you can about strengthening the area – it is part of life for every dancer but can be dealt with in a positive way.