Former New York City Ballet dancer Linda Hamilton, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice, the author of Advice for Dancers (Jossey-Bass) and co-author of The Dancer's Way: The New York City Ballet Guide to Mind, Body, and Nutrition (St. Martin's Griffin). Her website is drlindahamilton.com.
I took up Latin ballroom over a year ago, and my coach/partner wants me to compete in the Olympics of ballroom dancing—Blackpool in England in May 2018! My problem is that my bunions cause discomfort while dancing for long hours in 3-inch heels. Should I consider surgery to remove them? I don't want to jeopardize a critical point in my career.
—Michelle, Silver Spring, MD
The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science offers cutting-edge research, education and training to enhance dancers' health on a global stage. An annual conference by medical and dance professionals from 35 countries covers the latest advances in this specialty. Attendance is diverse, as more dancers enter the field. Anyone can download resource papers on topics like proper stretching and dancer nutrition from iadms.org.
Thanks to my nutritionist, I've started eating right. Now I desperately want to improve my negative body image. My friends tell me I look good, but I don't believe them. I obsess over every flaw and find class depressing. What should I do?
—Crappy Body Image, Hoboken, NJ
My doctor wants me to get a sonogram-guided injection of cortisone to reduce the inflammation surrounding my os trigonum, a pea-sized extra bone in the back of my ankle. I'm relieved that surgery may not be necessary, but I'm afraid of the steroid. My friend ruptured his tendon after getting an injection. Am I doing something risky?
—Alison, Cincinnati, OH
I love my BFA program, except for one class where the teacher only has eyes for the men—and even seems to flirt with them in class. The women, myself included, get zero attention, while the guys get loads of personal feedback. I know teachers have favorites, but this seems unfair. How can I stay motivated?
—Sara, New York, NY