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.
My orthopedist says I need hip arthroscopy to repair a torn labrum from doing an upside-down split in a contemporary piece. He says I'll most likely be able to dance again, but I'm worried. My best friend had the same surgery and wasn't able to perform ballet afterwards. How risky is this operation? I'm only 28!
—Katie, New York, NY
I'm naturally thin and have been living on fast food such as burgers, fries and pizza. Now I'm trying to eat better to prepare for auditions. I know the basics, like choosing good carbs, protein and fat, but it's hard to make smart choices when I'm grocery shopping. Any ideas?
—S.H., New York, NY
Three small dance companies offered me a job. The first wanted to give me good roles without pay until someone left. The second (which I took) pays, although the rep isn't as good and the studios are in a mall! The last was just a Nutcracker season in a nice company. Sadly, it feels like I "settled" for money rather than artistry. Did I make the right choice?
—Depressed Dancer, Midwest
I plan on moving to New York City this fall to continue my training and freelance work as a dancer/choreographer. A big concern is whether my health insurance will cover my medical needs for asthma. Can you give me any recommendations?
—Casey, San Francisco, CA
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.