Photo by Nathan Sayers, modeled by Gabrielle Sprauve of Marymount Manhattan College.

Injured? 10 Ways to Take Charge of Your Recovery

The first time I got injured, it felt like my life was put on hold. I'd fractured my fifth metatarsal, and was only out for six weeks, but it felt like six years. While everyone else was dancing, improving and performing, I was hobbling around in an ugly boot, with nothing to do but attempt to salvage my core strength via a terrible Pilates DVD. I felt completely lost.

But I shouldn't have: There are plenty of ways injured dancers can get back on their feet—and return even stronger than when they left. Take charge of your healing process with these 10 steps to speed up recovery and actually use the time off to your advantage.

#brokebutnotbroken Wendy Whelan and Marcelo Gomes

1. First things first: If a doctor tells you that you'll have to quit dancing for good, get a second opinion. Take it from a dancer/med student whose diagnosis only got worse after hip surgery.

2. Learn the ins-and-outs of worker's comp so you can still receive part of your paycheck.

Photo by Nathan Sayers

3. Few experiences are more stressful than injury. But finding a way to calm your mind and body could actually help you heal faster.

4. Pay attention to what you're eating. Getting the right nutrients is essential for recovery.

5. Check out The Dancer's Resource, an injury support group launched by Bebe Neuwirth for dancers who can't dance. You'll find group and individual counseling, referrals to dance medicine specialists, information on disability insurance and even emergency financial assistance.

6. Knowledge is power: Educate yourself about the most common dance injuries, and how you can avoid and overcome them.

Photo by Nathan Sayers

7. Once you get a green light from your doctor, physical therapy will not only strengthen your muscles to prevent relapse and prepare your body to dance again, but also give you a physical outlet. Find an expert familiar with dancers. Also, search for a cross-training regimen that you enjoy to protect yourself from overuse injuries and correct imbalances.

8. Know that you're not alone. Whatever you're feeling, it's normal. Paul Taylor dancer Parisa Khobdeh admits that being sidelined for months left her so defeated she almost didn't want to dance anymore. Wendy Whelan says the loneliness was one of the hardest parts of injury, but sharing her healing process on social media helped her feel less disconnected from her dance life.

9. When you first return to the studio, self-doubt can be paralyzing. Are you pushing too hard? Playing it too safe? It can take awhile to overcome the fear of re-injury, but taking it slow and focusing on your progression can help you overcome the mental hurdles.

10. Reframe injury as an opportunity. Stephen Petronio argues that it's a chance to get to know your body better, and become a smarter, more nuanced artist. Through the process of researching what's wrong and repairing what needs to be fixed, dancers often break through what they previously considered their bodies' limits. Embrace the time to hit the refresh button.

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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

The 10 Biggest Dance Stories of 2019

What were the dance moments that defined 2019? The stories that kept us talking, week after week? According to our top-clicked articles of the year, they ranged from explorations of dance medicine and dance history, takedowns of Lara Spencer and companies who still charge dancers to audition, and, of course, our list of expert tips on how to succeed in dance today.

We compiled our 10 biggest hits of the year, and broke down why we think they struck a chord:

Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Nichols

I Am a Black Dancer Who Was Dressed Up in Blackface to Perform in La Bayadère

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using blackface in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on black face, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.


Here's the First Trailer for the "In the Heights" Movie

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

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