Injury can be a dancer's greatest trial. When your identity is thoroughly wrapped up in your physical body, and that body is betraying you, what happens to your sense of self? Often, our instinct is to dance through the pain, ignore it or try any quick fix that will get us back onstage—strategies that can leave us in even worse shape than before.
The best approach, of course, is not to get injured in the first place. And that's the focus of the Injury Prevention Workshop, hosted by The School at Steps in New York City this Sunday night. The event includes a panel featuring Leigh Heflin from The Harkness Center for Dance Injuries; Pilates instructor Robin Powell; and Dr. Andrew Price, a professor of orthopedic surgery. They'll discuss useful topics like the types of cross-training that can make injuries less likely, the positive effects of physical therapy on a dancer's recovery process, and the ways younger dancers can work through the effects of growth spurts.
Practical advice, all of it. But the panel will also include New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns, who'll address the issue from a dancer's perspective. Mearns, who suffered from intense, complicated back problems that took her out of the NYCB lineup for 8 months in 2012, faced the kind of forced break that shakes a dancer to her core. Mearns' story (which is, ultimately, a success story—she's back and has been dancing beautifully as of late) shows, in dramatic fashion, just how important it is for dancers to heed her fellow panelists' advice.
Sara Mearns in costume for Wheeldon's DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse. Photo by Sarah Silver.
The Injury Prevention Workshop, sponsored by Dance Spirit magazine, will be held at Steps on Broadway (Broadway between 74th and 75th) at 6 pm this Sunday, April 6. Tickets are just $10—click here to get yours.