I was three-years old when I first started dancing. Not just ‘make up my own routines in my bedroom’ kind of dancing, I mean proper dance lessons. My first dance concert was Cats, and I remember it clearly because I had to have my hair curled, and my Mum bought these awful curlers that pulled at my scalp and were painful to have. Because I had to sleep in them to ensure my hair turned out super curly, I am able to remember my first dance concert because I associate it with head pain!
I danced for fourteen years, doing ballet, jazz and tap. I did ballet for ten years, jazz for fourteen years and tap for three years. I was never the most flexible dancer, however, I still managed to be placed up the front of routines, and I can assume it was because I was a good dancer, not because my teacher was trying to make a fool of me by placing me up the front when I could not dance.
I did NOT like ballet. My mum made me keep taking it because she said it was good to learn posture and how to hold myself properly, all of which ballet dancing incorporated. I remember constantly pretending to be injured, sick or tired to try and get out of ballet lesson. However, mum often saw right through them and made me go anyway. On the other hand, I absolutely loved jazz dancing. I was there every week, warming up and ready to learn the routine.
Sadly, my dancing career came to an end in 2014. I was in year ten, and we were on school camp at MSAC, learning how to do different dives off a one metre diving board. We were practising a dive where you jump up into the air, arch your body over and then dive straight down into the water. When I dived downwards and hit the top of the water, my legs snapped backwards, and I fell into the water stuck with my legs stuck 90 degrees towards my back. It was excruciating, and I felt like I could not move.
I had to go to physio for months afterwards. My first physio used to treat my back, assuming I had muscle damage. She made me go for x-ray’s and ultrasounds trying to figure out what was wrong, because I always left the physio in more pain then when I entered. The second physio I had looked at my x-rays and noticed I had a disk bulge, something he said could have happened from my dancing, or because of the failed dive. He treated me for that, and while it made a slight difference, I was still in pain. My last physio looked at my x-rays and ultrasounds and then, after hearing my story, he said I would have bruised bones. To me and my dad, that made sense, and also explained why I always left the physio in more pain, because they would press down on my back massaging it or trying to fix it, when in reality they were just making the bruising worse. When my physio started treating me for bruised bones, I started to get better. Unfortunately, my dancing had to come to an end, because I could not dance without my back hurting.
It is now five years later, and I have not been back to proper dance lessons. I found I did not miss it as much as I thought I would. Also, I find my back still gets sore when I walk, sit or stand for too long, meaning that dancing would just jar and aggravate it. While I loved dancing when I was doing it, I find other ways to relieve stress, like going to gym or going for a run.
I do, however, still enjoy sitting down and watching my dance concerts on DVD, because believe me, I was not as good a dancer as I thought I was!