Ruins in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Photo by Roosevelt Skerrit, Courtesy

Post-Hurricane PTSD Is Affecting My Dancing

I haven't been able to sleep, eat or dance as usual since Hurricane Maria destroyed my home in Puerto Rico while I was visiting from school. My family was able to fly back to stay with my mother's relatives in Florida, although the BFA program I attend is unfortunately in another state. I can't stop crying or thinking about our house collapsing around us. I also feel badly that I can't help my friends. Why am I so weak?

—Carla, New York, NY

Your inability to function "as usual" has nothing to do with being weak. You've experienced a terrifying event where you lost your family home and could have lost your life. Even stoic dancers often have reactions to trauma, including shock, fear, nervousness, anger and guilt. These feelings usually go away within a month of the event that triggered them. However, if you are still experiencing severe anxiety and find it difficult to function, you may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms of PTSD may include reliving the ordeal through flashbacks or nightmares; avoiding feelings or situations that remind you of the event; increasing irritability or being easily startled; and having negative thoughts and feelings. You can get support by using your school's counseling services, which are likely included with your tuition. You might also consider taking a leave of absence to be with your family. Treatment for PTSD typically involves therapy, medication or both to improve daily functioning by helping you cope with the event. Once you feel better, you should be able to immerse yourself in dance again.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at

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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.

Enter Our Video Contest