Meet ABP intern Laura Smithson

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My name is Laura Smithson, and I’m a senior dance major at the University of Florida. My experience with ballet started long before I made the choice to study dance as a career — I think I was about eight years old when I realized that dance would always be one of the most important things in my life. Now, as an Adult Ballerina, I see how the confidence and discipline I’ve developed through my training has shaped who I am today. I think that must be my favorite thing about dance: it gives you a reason and a means to create the best version of yourself.

As an ABP writer intern, I plan to learn a lot about utilizing social media to connect with larger communities. Around this time next year, I’ll be auditioning for professional companies and performances, and I’ll be using the skills I learn through this internship to promote myself as an artist. Until then, I’m really excited to join the ABP community and to encourage people from all backgrounds to follow their passion for dance!

Meet Our New Intern Hilary Pyo

Headshot 2When I was four years old, I was enchanted by a production of The Nutcracker, and I eagerly  began ballet lessons with Laurel Ballet Performing Company in Greensburg, PA. At age sixteen, I decided to pursue a professional career; training with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and performing as a company dancer with the Georgia Ballet and Brandywine Ballet Theatre.

Throughout my career, I’ve valued ballet as a challenging yet rewarding form of physical training, and I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with students of all ages. I graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in May 2015 with a degree in English, and I am thrilled to combine my love of writing and dancing with Adult Ballerina Project!

Image via Brandywine Ballet Theatre

Guest Post: Inactive Recovery

5281539131_7b6bd70ed3_zInactive Recovery. Two words that can drive me in to a melt down that challenges any a toddler can throw.

Because it starts as nothing.  It stats as twinge after class. A little extra ache after a long day. So you take a few ibuprofen and maybe cut down a class or two. But it’s not helping. In fact, it’s getting worse, from a nagging little thing to a searing pain any time you jump, or do a little too much walking. It hurts when you’re doing nothing at all.

So you go to your doctor. He suggests more rest, more ibuprofen, and to let your pain be your guide. But what he doesn’t understand is that you are a  warrior, you are an athlete. You push harder, work harder and live with pain daily. You welcome it. It’s proof that you’re working hard enough.

But it’s not getting better. This time there are x-rays, and a walking boot, to slow you down. So you do the math, and start calculating how to use the rest of your muscles without using that one part of that one leg. You’re swimming and doing crunches, because those seem okay.

You’re still going to class, and just trying to hide the injury. If your teachers find out, they might not let you take class. That would be the worst. Because you just made pointe. Or mastered a decent pirouette. You’re not ready to admit defeat. You’re careful not to limp out of class, and don’t cry until you get to your car.

You don’t tell your friends, or write about it on social media, you don’t want word to get out. You don’t want the sympathy, or the empathy, you want to be back in the studio, working.

So you go to your doctor again. You discuss your fairly vague diagnosis, something about a tired tendon, and over use. Something non-specific, and there’s only one real treatment plan. Inactive recovery.

Inactive recovery means doing nothing. Inactive recovery means not fighting through it, but accepting and embracing the fact that the best thing you can do is nothing. Sit more. Walk less. There’s no war, no challenging choreography to cover, no death defying physical feat. There is nothing to do but wait.

And it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done as a dancer.

Image via Flickr User Quinn Dombrowski

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