It is a scientifically proven fact that dancers off stage are amongst some of the clumsiest persons.
(Yes, I actually read this somewhere years ago.)
I am firmly of the opinion that this is due to the fact that we are taught from the earliest of ages that we cannot look at our feet to see if we are placing them correctly but must learn to rely on our peripheral vision and awareness of our own bodies – awesome in concept, hard to accomplish in reality at times. (Never mind if you’re half blind like me, unable to wear your glasses on stage. Getting contacts was a HUGE improvement when I was a kid!)
The point of course is that it is not interesting to look at the top of a dancer’s head but to see the great expressions on their faces, as they pine away for lost loves, or whatever the ballet requires.
While I didn’t intend for two back to back weeks of dance related posts, I was amused by my collection of pins which all centred around the clumsy:
Gravity is never a dancer’s friend. All of our exercises and movement we spend fighting against the pull of gravity, from when we throw our leg up into the air with a kick (grande battement) to when we leap across the floor in a grande jeté, we are fighting not only our body’s inclinations to “land like a herd of elephants” but also the undeniable pull back to Earth by this unrelenting force of nature.
The only time I have ever broken a bone, I actually tripped over my own feet in dance class. I was couruing backwards (a move which is done up on the balls of the feet, where you move very quickly in a specific direction – ballet’s form of “running” gracefully), when I stepped on the edge of my shoe and fell backwards. I caught almost all my weight on my right wrist, pressure fracturing the bone. I wasn’t sure how badly I’d hurt it, because it never really swelled up, but it felt off so I convinced my dad to take me to the hospital for x-rays to be sure. Dancing half our year end performances with cast when we were supposed to be ‘nymphs’ must have looked so stupid!
When I was growing up, I was forever climbing over things: curbs, tree planters, etc. Why go around, I figured, when it was far more interesting to get a change of perspective even of a few inches. This contributed to a fair number of falls and bruises as I went, added to the frequent bruises obtained through dance (it hurts if you kick a chair across the room, just saying…not that I have any *direct* knowledge of it or anything). I distinctly remember being pulled aside by the fantastic woman who was my teacher for grade 3 and 4, who asked very kindly if everything was ok at home, as she’d noticed my legs were often covered in dark bruises. I, in my innocence, must have looked at her like she was crazy while assuring her everything was perfectly alright at home – after all, I could (normally) explain exactly where each of them had come from, but looking back now I can see why she might have been a tad concerned.