Injuries are the bane of every dancer. They can strike at the worst times and keep a dancer on the sidelines for weeks, even months. How does one cope? Returning BHdos dancer Laura Montas shares her experience in today’s guest post.
My name is Laura Montas and I am a dancer with Ballet Hispanico’s second company, BHdos. Currently we are reaching the end of our season and we have experienced some wonderful opportunities. About three weeks ago I was injured on the job. I am now nursing tendinitis on my patella and a slight tear in my meniscus on my left knee. My doctor feels as though the tear is small enough to be cured with physical therapy, so I have been adamant about attending my P.T sessions and trying to get as healthy as I can.
As a dancer, your livelihood is your body and how well it can perform. When the doctor told me I had this injury I was very scared because I felt as though I wouldn’t be able to dance anymore or be able to partake in the experience Ballet Hispanico has offered me. Having a conversation with my rehearsal director was frustrating because all I wanted to do was dance and they thought it was best if I sat out for the rest of the season to focus on my knee. Nicholas (Rehearsal Director for BHdos) and Franchesca (Program Coordinator) emphasized the importance of healing the knee injury instead of pushing through the pain. It feels great to know that the company you love so much hasn’t given up on you and this is an opportunity that they’re giving me rather than a punishment.
Ballet Hispanico agreed to keep me on board and now I have a new job responsibility. I now observe company class and their shows as well as take notes for the rehearsal director. It’s definitely not as fun as being a dancer that’s part of the rehearsal process physically but I’m learning to use different tools that will help me when I return to dance.
Taking a step back and looking at dance through the perspective of a director is really eye-opening because you learn how to speak to people so that you get what you want out of them. You also begin to observe and realize the importance of form and positioning in choreography. Suddenly you have the opportunity to view your friends habits and you have the option of taking some of their habits with you when you do return to dance.
I have to admit when I was dancing I didn’t pay attention to the musical counts as much as I should have. Now that I am unable to dance I’m all about the counts! I’m able to hear the music a lot better and it’s all become very clear to me.
Even though I’m not dancing, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped my training. I’m just using different muscles to strengthen my all-around abilities as an artist. I want to say this experience has been a gift and a curse. A curse because I am not able to dance for now. But a gift because I can now focus on some of the aspects of dance I felt I was weaker in. When I start dancing again I’ll know the importance of musicality, focus, and taking direction better. I am very grateful Ballet Hispanico has given me this opportunity . Though it’s a different one it’s extremely valid and helpful towards my growth as a dancer.