Yesterday morning I had my pre-admissions appointment with the surgical team at St Johns. Although I’m not a fan of hospitals so not particularly looking forward to it the thought of being pain free after a couple of years appeals more so I was happy to go along.
The surgeon did an investigation of my foot (lots of prodding and poking) and has decided that the surgery I was scheduled for may not work. He said my case is more complex and that the Morton’s Neuroma I have is a symptom rather than the cause of my pain. It seems two of my metatarsals are out of place and the range of movement in my ankle is poor. I may need a number of surgeries to solve the problem so the first step is to be sent for 3 months of intensive physio before seeing the consultant again for a re-evaluation.
I am disappointed as I thought I was nearing the end and I’m frustrated that nobody had picked up on this previously but I guess in the long term it would have been pointless if it hadn’t worked. The consultant said that he had had 3 or 4 similar cases last year and one person avoided surgery altogether through Physio so you never know….
He’s prescribed strong painkillers and an altered hours at work form to get me through the next few months. And it seems my PG Cert project has never been more apt…might need to follow the resilience building sessions myself!
Last night I went to see Scottish Ballet’s latest production, Hansel and Gretel. It was a fun Ballet with stunning sets and clever costumes and the acting by Constance Devernay as Gretel and Andrew Peasgood as Hansel was both convincing and magical – the audience truly believing they were young children off on an adventure.
Sometimes I have been slightly disappointed by Scottish Ballet productions as they don’t always hit the heights they are built up to be but not so with this one. I was mesmerised from beginning to end.
Today I had my three dance observations. Although these would usually be spread over a period of six months or more due to my surgery I had to get the most all done by January 13th so it was easiest to do the most all in one day.
Lesson one was my S3 NPA class who were doing contemporary with a particular focus on pirouettes. Next up were the Higher class who were focussing on posture and alignment in preparation for Jazz and finally my S1 cohort took part in a choreography class looking at creating unique movement based on a given stimulus.
The lessons all went really smoothly and each passed so now I can relax before the holidays!
I finally have a date for surgery and so will complete my observed sessions with Laura McAdam on Tuesday 13th December.
Plan is to do S3 Contemporary, S5/6 Jazz and S1/2 choreography.
I read an interesting article this week about the lack of attention given to dancer psychology which links nicely with my PG Cert project. The author discussed how the expectation in dance culture is for dancers to ‘tough it out’, something I have discussed before in previous blogs. This is not only a physical expectation but an emotional one and one that used to be prevalent in sport as well. However, sport psychology has come a long way and it is time for the dance world to take the sports psychology approach.
Elizabeth Sullivan, a former dancer completed an MA in arts administration at the University of Colombia and her research involved introducing the concepts of self-talk, positive visualisation, centering, relaxation, balanced eating and goal setting to dance students. She ran classes which hoped to “address the ‘mind side’ of traditional performing arts training…with a focus on self-identity, self-confidence, and the development of the dancer as a whole person.”
Another approach is called ‘Quality Mental Recovery’ which involves strategies to help dancers take a mental break from dancing, or even thinking or worrying about dance. The hope is that this mental recovery will enable dancers to be more prepared to deliver better dance performance at the next class.
But why is dance falling behind sports psychology?
There is certainly a lot less research around dance than sports, due in part because there are a lot more sports than forms of dance. However, there are many similarities with the physical aspects and so it would be good to see dance included in the meaning of sports psychology.
Dance has risen in popularity over the last decade and so needs to be brought onto the same level. I hope that courses such as these where dance specialists complete research projects around dance will start to close the gap.