Blood, Sweat and Tears
This photo reflects hours and hours of physical work and preparation in order to “qualify” for Pointe Work and then continued training to be able to advance your practice. These shoes are so much more than shoes. After recently coming across my large collection of dead pointe shoes, nearly 40 pairs, there are memories of passion for the art, success, disappointments, failures, discipline, and life lessons. There are many beautiful memories – learning traditional variations, amazing choreography, International travel, accomplishments, performances, costuming, and relationships. I loved every moment of it – yes, even the blood, sweat and tears. I, like many dancers, pushed to the limits of what my body could do and the decision to hang up my shoes nearly 16 years ago did not come lightly. It definitely doesn’t feel like 16 years, as the feel of dancing on pointe will be forever engrained in my body. The scars from blisters and calluses on my toes remain. At the time to decide to stop pointe work, my body was failing me and the pressures to complete University took precedence. Those last few years of struggling with injury and pain had ultimately influenced my decision to pursue a Physiotherapy career and the desire to try to help prevent dancers from the downward sequelae following injury.
Was everything worth it? Absolutely. To those dancers and dance parents not sure about the commitments it takes to dance at a higher level – it is worth every penny. A hefty penny may I add – this pile of shoes values at approximately $4000.00 for just the shoes and not counting lesson, costuming, competition, travel, and extra total fees. However, the skill set and lessons learnt from dancing are invaluable. It will be a part of their life, long after the dance classes stop being a part of the dancer’s life. And especially now in a very uncertain time with ever changing regulations, the arts will need those passionate students to continue to pursue their lessons now more than ever. And the students will need dance as their outlet for creativity, stress, trauma, and an escape. Most dancers would agree with me that dance is very much a therapeutic activity and with all the challenges to our mental health in these unprecedented times, we need dance and the arts now more than ever.
Through Empower Physiotherapy and Empower Movement Studio, I hope to continue to assist dancers with their passion. I have supported so many dancers ranging from recreational to professional on their goals. I continue to shed blood, sweat and tears for this population and I love every minute of it. Specializing in this area of Physiotherapy was a no-brainer for me. I wish there would have been more specialized care for me during my training to assist in staying injury and pain free as there were very limited resources and push for preventative medicine when I trained. Now, I have some excellent Physiotherapy colleagues out there who can work with this population, but without experiencing it yourself, makes it very difficult to relate and fully understand the whole dancer in front of you. I have been there with clients and dance students through their most difficult and also most celebrated times and have been able to relate to their concerns and injuries. As we move forward through COVID-19, I am excited to announce that there will continue to be plans for even more assistance with our local dance and artistic athlete students in upcoming months.
With you through blood, sweat, tears and…pandemics.
-Sara Lawson, Dance Physiotherapist/Educator
Clinic Director and Dance Physiotherapist, Sara Lawson has a special interest in artistic athletes and dance medicine. Sara has worked as a Physiotherapist for many years with a variety of high end athletes, performing artists, and in a variety of fields of Physiotherapy. Join her in exploring behind the scenes of performance and dance Physiotherapy as a clinician and business owner. Behind the Curtain is meant to be an informative, raw, and open platform discussing the challenges and rewards of this industry where the show must always go on.