Getty Images

Surgery for Better Flexibility? Not Worth It.

My artistic director suggested that I get surgery to fix my average flexibility if I want a company contract. Yet he casts me in nice roles even as an apprentice. I don't know what to do.

—Anonymous


Getting surgery to improve your flexibility does not work and would be a waste of your time and money. My advice is to meet with a dance medicine orthopedist. They can give you a prescription for physical therapy to work on your flexibility and provide you with a letter for your director explaining their approach.

The majority of your flexibility is out of your control and is due largely to the structure of your bones and elasticity of your muscle tissue. Other factors, like sex (females tend to be more flexible than males), age and warmer temperatures (which loosen you up), also affect your range of motion. You can improve your flexibility by a small degree through gentle, regular stretching.

Of course, if you don't feel that your director is looking out for your best interest, it might be time to audition for other companies. If he chose you to be an apprentice and perform choice roles, you must be talented.

Latest Posts


Charlene Gehm MacDougal as Lead Nursemaid in Petrushka. Photo by Herbert Migdoll, courtesy the MacDougal family.

In Memoriam: Joffrey Dancer Charlene Gehm MacDougal, 69

Former lead dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, Charlene Gehm MacDougal died of ovarian cancer on January 10 at her home in New York City, age 69.

Gehm illuminated the inner life of each of the varied characters in her extensive repertoire. Whether she was the gracious hostess in George Balanchine's Cotillon, the riveting Lady Capulet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, or in the tumult of William Forsythe's Love Songs, she drew the viewer's eye and heart to the essence of the role.

As Forsythe puts it: "Charlene was certainly one of the most elegant dancers I have had the privilege to work with. Her striking countenance flowed into her work and, joined with her wicked sense of humor and intelligence, created thoughtful, mesmerizing and memorable art."

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
February 2021