What's Your Body Saying?

Body Talk

Nothing’s more shattering to a dancer than an afflicted body.

When you develop an injury, it’s useful to identify and investigate what your body requires.

Some days your injured body simply needs a good stretch and nutrient-packed foods. Other days it may need ice or a massage. On still other days it may need the attention of a specialist.

Your body is smart, and it knows how to communicate with you.

For additional information on this subject, confer with experts, one of whom is your very own body.

Here’s a letter written by one such expert to its owner.

Dear Dancer,

Dancing is demanding. It puts an insane amount of stress on me, your prized possession. While I am resilient, I’m also fragile, and there’s only so much I can do. Aches and pains are my way of asking you nicely to please slow down, modify, or stop what you’re doing.

I appreciate how you push us to explore the limits of what we can do, and I understand that you’re reluctant to admit pain or injury. But when you make me work through pain, or take needless risks, or neglect my fatigue, it does ghastly things to me. Then you get sad and we’re both down and out for the count.

In most cases, I simply need rest. Not too bad, eh? Some repetitive stress injuries are meant to heal through rest.

But when you carry on, refusing to take breaks or constantly re-injuring me, that overuse delays my recovery. Or it makes me run the risk of developing a secondary injury caused by compensating for the initial one. Overuse can even inflict permanent damage on me.

And could we talk for just a minute about how you overrule my requests for rest? You down coffee, energy drinks, and other forms of tomfoolery. I don’t appreciate it when you’re so reckless and imprudent. I’m always the one who’s hurt and has to pay for it . . . although, if truth be told, you pay too since we’re forever dance partners.

Some of my best friends are the bodies of dancers who ignored their injuries, danced through pain, or took unnecessary risks. Those bodies tell a story I don’t want us to tell.

To do my part, I need you to do yours. Teamwork is how we maintain good fitness and health. Listen to me, kid, and there’s no telling how far and how long we’ll go on dancing together.

One final request, please. Since we do live together and I feel and believe every iota of what you think, please—whatever you do—don’t criticize any of my parts.

Self-deprecation, whether as a casual joke or otherwise, is not funny. Your most minuscule negative thought ripples through me and gets on my last nerve. In fact, it’s like a bad joke—and the joke’s really on us. Because spiteful energy zaps the good right out of me and renders me sad.

Talk nicely to me. I need your tender loving care. Feed me the good stuff, especially love, hope, and faith.


Your one-of-a-kind, beautiful body

Just as you truly appreciate love after experiencing heartache, you truly appreciate dance after sitting on the sidelines due to an injury.” ~ LaurieTALKS

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