Injuries are the absolute WORST. Believe me, after a bad break at the base of my second metatarsal during my junior year of high school, I can say with complete confidence that the whole experience is a real bummer. A tweaked knee, popped tendon or broken ankle are the kinds of things that fill dancers’ nightmares. In this rigorous and at times unforgiving artform, taking necessary time to recover can feel like a death sentence to a promising career.
While I was able to eventually recover and land my first professional contract with Odyssey Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah, just two years later, that time of rehabilitation was devastating to me. Looking back, I wish I had had the inspiration and guidance of professional dancers who had triumphed over injuries and went on to continue their dazzling dancing careers.
Thankfully, today the world of social media allows dancers to generously share their experiences with the public. Check out these three star-studded performers who’ve gotten real about injury recovery on Instagram. Share their stories with your students and help them navigate the rough terrain of minor to major injuries.
1. David Hallberg: American Ballet Theatre
In 2014, principal dancer David Hallberg had an ankle injury that almost caused him to quit ballet altogether. After multiple surgeries, he flew to Melbourne, Australia, to begin what would become 14 months of rehabilitation. He shares snapshots of his recovery on Instagram.
2. Steven McRae: The Royal Ballet
Last May, principal dancer Steven McRae announced he would be taking time off to tend to an injury and get surgery. He stressed that he will be working hard to get back onstage for future seasons. His Instagram has since been filled with motivational posts detailing his recovery process.
3. Lauren Cuthbertson: The Royal Ballet
In early June, principal dancer Laura Cuthbertson announced she would not be finishing The Royal Ballet’s current season due to an injury. In her post she apologizes to the audience and her partner for having to bow out early, sharing the feelings of guilt and responsibility dancers naturally feel when having to take time off.