Art & Injury

Recently I discovered that I had developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot. For those less familiar, plantar fasciitis is heel pain that is caused by straining the ligament that supports the arch of your foot. It is caused by repetitive movement and overuse of your feet, like we do in Kathak dance. This being my first ever real dance injury (touch wood!) I was stressed and nervous about how it would impact my practice. I did lots of reading and visited many doctors and healers.
The one common thing that came from everyone….rest. Resting, meaning taking time off from dance, to me (and probably to many other artists) is like asking me to stop breathing for some time and to be ok with it. I can’t say that I stopped dancing completely, but my practice took a big shift from the norm. Here’s what I discovered. Injury will teach you SO much about how you use your body. The sheer anxiety of reversing the problem and making sure it doesn’t happen again forces us to investigate every aspect of our practice. For example, should I be using my abs more when I dance? The answer is always yes. Is the alignment of my head proper? Injury in one part of your body can lead to a complete reevaluation of how you use every part of your body.
The other thing that I realized is that there are indeed ways to stay close to your artistic practice without putting your injured body through so much physical use. For a dancer this could be building your musicality skills and concentrating on technical improvement in areas that don’t involve the injury. I’m not by any means saying that its good to have an injury, but I’m saying that what you can learn through the process of recovering from an injury can make you a better artist once you have healed. In life and in dance, as always, it’s a matter of perspective.

 

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