In the world of Ballet, “taking a day off” is a lot different.
Today, I started with Pilates class. I had previously planned on taking ballet directly afterwards, but from the moment I awoke this morning, I could tell that my body had other ideas.
I could feel the gentle throb of exhaustion in my left fourth toe metatarsal. The heavy thud and twang of cold, dull pain in my right upper thigh’s hamstring. A prevailing golf ball-sized knot in my right trapezius. All of this would be bearable, were it not for the additional feeling of… illness, brought on by the change of seasons and one too many hand-holds with younger dancers in beginner levels. I’ve started assisting in some classes.
Lying on my Pilates-slash-yoga-slash-whatever you wish to call my purple mat, I listened to my body. I told my teacher what was going on, and she recommended laying off any major stretching, giving my hamstring time to recover – at least two weeks. The night before, my ballet coach told me to refrain from any extra-curricular dancing outside of class and rehearsals for the next two weeks.
In the world of Ballet, “Two Weeks” feels like Two Months.
My body felt relieved the minute I decided to take the day off from any class or personal rehearsal. Luckily, no official rehearsals were scheduled. I could rest.
So, I edited dance videos for my YouTube Channel. Took care of correspondence with dance contacts, arranging future meetings, trips, production meetings. Listened to my body speak of its pain as I tried to “rest.” I fed it whatever it wanted, within reason: hot cocoa, peanut butter, water.
I took inventory of pointe shoes, folded clean dance laundry, and reviewed footage of rehearsals, making notes about what must be improved.
In the world of Ballet, there is no such thing as “rest.” Maybe, it is as they say: learn to find peace within the chaos.