Ask Jules: On Injury and Inspiration
I am a 17-year-old dancer from Spokane, Washington. Last year, I sprained my ankle pretty badly and had to miss my classes and sit out of a recital. I thought that was the worst of it but then I just found out I also have to rehab my hip next year. I want to be the best I can but it seems like everything is holding me back from that. Your practice seems so perfect and effortless, have you ever had an injury that held you back or anything else in the way of your dancing?
I am sorry you’re feeling so down! Hopefully my story will lift your spirits and show you that no, nothing will ever hold me back from dancing! A lot of people don’t know I injured my neck severely just four days before we left for the MOVE Live Tour in 2014. A previous injury that happened on the set of Rock of Ages came back with a vengeance. My C2, C3, C4, C5 vertebrae were out of place. Because of this injury, I had five ribs out of place, my hips were rotated forward on the right hand side, and I had a tingling sensation running down my left arm all the way to my ring finger.
For the entire MOVE Tour we had to find a physical therapist in every city who could work on me before each show. I’d use a stem machine throughout the day to loosen the muscles in the area and keep a rotation of heating pads on throughout the show in between dances. I even had to wear a neck brace (as you can see).
This was a huge bummer of course because I couldn’t actually enjoy the tour with the rest of the dancers and crew. I simply had to heal and help my body survive. There were several shows that were almost cancelled — thankfully we were able to pull through.
For the second tour, I took preventative measures during rehearsals and saw a chiropractor every single day. Luckily I was back to myself before I knew it and able to enjoy the second tour. So as you can see, it’s not always perfect and effortless. Anything worth having hardly ever is! Keep your head up and know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
You got this!
PS: It’s one thing to dance through some pain, but please don’t go against the advice of your doctor! They always know what’s best for your body and recovery.