Photo via Burst

Ask Amy: Coming Back From an Injury

This story originally appeared in the October/November 2015 issue of Pointe.

I'm recovering from surgery on my ankle, and I'm feeling intimidated about getting back into the studio. How do I get over feeling like I'm starting at square one? —Julia


Coming back from an injury is one of the scariest and most humbling experiences a dancer can face. But it's also an opportunity. When else do you have the luxury to slow down and intricately analyze your technique? I had two major injuries during my career, and both times I came back stronger because I had time to correct issues with my alignment, address long-standing bad habits and strengthen weaknesses. That said, coming back to class was hard. It will feel strange and you'll get very frustrated at times—which is perfectly valid! But try to stay focused on your ultimate goal, which is to fully recover and get back onstage. You can't do that without going to class, so you'll have to understand that things will be different for a while.

The fact is, you are starting from square one—and that's okay! Accept your limitations seriously and work within them. You may feel pressure to do more than you should (especially around your uninjured colleagues), so find a place at the barre where you can drown everything out and feel comfortable working at your own pace. And remember—baby steps. Better to work slowly and safely than to push too hard, compensate and risk re-injuring yourself.

Finally, try not to assume that your colleagues are judging you. They know you're injured—if anything, they'll be your biggest cheerleaders. Need a little inspiration? Click here to read New York City Ballet principal Jennie Somogyi's personal story of injury recovery.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Lauren Anderson's Tips for Relevé Développé Écarté Devant

Développé écarté relevé "is in every class, every ballet," says Lauren Anderson, former principal dancer and current program manager of education and community engagement at Houston Ballet. Below, she gives you the keys to success for this "light and lovely" repertoire staple.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Andrey Chuntomov, Courtesy Arabesque-2020

Inside Arabesque-2020, One of Russia’s Top Ballet Competitions

Much like everything else this year, the XVI Russian Open Ballet Competition Arabesque-2020 was unlike any in its three-decade history. Rescheduled and shortened because of the coronavirus pandemic—and on the brink of cancellation until the very last moment—the competition nevertheless took place October 24 to November 2 at the historic Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks