Finally, the Real Reason Your Hip Keeps Clicking
We kinda doubt Gisele Bethea has hip clicking issues. Photo by Nathan Sayers for Dance Spirit.
We all know the feeling. You're in the middle of the highest grand battement of your day, or slowly lifting your knee into what's about to be a killer a la seconde extension. Then you hear it: the hip click.
For many dancers, the hip click isn't necessarily a sound of doom—rather a mild annoyance and another quirk to add to the many strange things that go on in our bodies. But it turns out, it's a real medical condition called Snapping Hip Syndrome.
The good news is that unless you're in pain when your hip snaps—or cracks or clicks—you're probably fine. According to Janine Bryant, a PhD candidate in dance medicine and a member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, the sound you're hearing is way less scary than what you were probably imagining—just a muscle or tendon passing over a bony structure. The bad news is that even if the snapping isn't causing you any pain, it's probably slightly limiting your range of motion. The best thing you can do to ensure maximum hip mobility is to keep your muscles stretched with gentle, non-weight bearing exercises, such as pulling your knee into your chest while lying on your back to stretch your piriformis, and then rotating your leg for a "figure 4" stretch.
If you are experiencing pain when your hip clicks, Bryant recommends seeing a physician and considering cutting down on strenuous dancing until the condition improves.
Another dancer body mystery, solved.
Chiara Valle is just one of many dancers heading back to the studio this fall as companies ramp up for the season. But her journey back has been far more difficult than most.
Valle has been a trainee at The Washington Ballet since 2016, starting at the same time as artistic director Julie Kent. But only a few months into her first season there, she started experiencing excruciating pain high up in her femur. "It felt like someone was stabbing me 24/7," she says. Sometimes at night, the pain got so bad that her roommates would bring her dinner to the bathtub.
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Michele Byrd-McPhee's uncle was a DJ for the local black radio station in Philadelphia, where she was born. As a kid she was always dancing to the latest music, including a new form of powerful poetry laid over pulsing beats that was the beginning of what we now call hip hop.
Byrd-McPhee became enamored of the form and went on to a career as a hip-hop dancer and choreographer, eventually founding the Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival and directing the New York City chapter of Everybody Dance Now!. Over the decades, she has experienced hip hop's growth from its roots in the black community into a global phenomenon—a trajectory she views with both pride and caution.
On one hand, the popularity of hip hop has "made a global impact," says Byrd-McPhee. "It's provided a voice for so many people around the world." The downside is "it's used globally in ways that the people who made the culture don't benefit from it."