Health & Body

Ask Deb: What's the Best Way to Discuss My Injury With the Doctor?

Q: What tips do you have for dancers when they go to the doctor for an injury?

A: It's always good to write down the patterns of what you know about the injury. For example, what makes it worse, and what makes it better? Offer as much as you can about how the injury happened. If it's an acute injury the "how" is pretty clear, but when it's an injury that has slowly come on, it's harder to define. This is why it's so important to know when it hurts, how it hurts and what movement or action inflames it. That information will guide the treatment and rehab process.

Second, talk to the doctor about having a physical therapist help integrate the injured area back into full movement. For example, I have seen multiple dancers not fully rehab from a sprained ankle, only to later incur another injury, often on the opposite leg, because they never fully addressed the compensatory action of shifting the weight off of the injured leg. The body is intelligent and constantly responding to its internal state as well as the forces placed upon it by the outside environment. Once the student can return to full-weight-bearing activities, they must retrain the body to work from center and reestablish proper proprioception.

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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