Here's How This ABT Dancer Recovered From an Injury that Could Have Ended Her Career
Dancers are some of the most resilient people out there—but coming back from a serious injury can test even strongest dancer's will. American Ballet Theatre corps member Lauren Post has proven up to the challenge.
"I tore my ACL on my left knee while I was on stage at the Met performing in Sylvia," Post says. "Once I realized I couldn't keep dancing, I just crawled behind a piece of scenery and waited until the scene was over so I could be taken offstage." In order to replace the ACL, Post's doctors had to take muscle and tendon from her hamstring and put it in her knee.
During the first stage of her recovery, Post decided to take time to travel, and even picked up a new skill: crocheting. (Her newfound hobby benefited her young niece, who has received many of the stuffed animals she crocheted.)
When Post did begin physical therapy she took things slow. "It took me weeks to work up to be able to bend my knee to a 90-degree angle after my surgery." Post took her workouts to the pool so her leg would become accustomed to movement in a low-impact environment.
Though Post was discouraged at times, she said that talking to a fellow dancer who was going through a similar injury and recovery process kept her optimistic about being able to dance again. She also mentioned how powerful a positive attitude can can be when you're trying to heal.
"I reminded myself that millions of people went through what I was going through, and I had to just tell myself that if they could do it, I could too," she said. "I think the mind is really powerful and if you can convince yourself of something, your body just follows."
The positivity paid off: Nine months after her operation, Post was able to return to work, just in time for ABT's 2017 Met season. She even performed soloist roles in Le Corsaire.
Post said the recovery process taught her how to cross train and take better care of herself: "You have to listen to your body and know when to back off and rest." To read the whole interview, click here.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.