By Lucy- May Pitt
The first time I went to the physiotherapist, I wasn’t even injured. It was a part of the audition process for the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.
I began dancing when I was 8, twice a week after school and once on Saturdays with a total of about 8 hours per week. I did general classes tap, jazz, ballet, acrobatics but never any pilates or conditioning type classes. I decided I wanted a career in dance so I looked into more professional schools. I was never injured, maybe some soreness here and there but I never saw a Physio until this audition.
I learned a lot about myself that audition day, how tall I was, what I weighed, all the way down to how far backward my big toe bent! I walked out of the physio room after being measured and stretched with my results written over 5 pages. I was desperate to get into this school so I poured over those pages and analysed everything.
The thing about these tertiary dance assessment, is on the side of the columns where the physio writes down all your measurements, it tells you the minimum requirements to be accepted into the school, a basic requirement to be a dancer. I had terrible turn out of my legs, less than 50% of what they were looking for and what is a ballerina without turnout?! My calves and core were also weak, but the one thing I had going for me was my flexibility. My pointe range was above recommended, (who doesn’t love a dancer with pointy feet?!) I had a lot of sway back in my legs and my hamstrings were super flexible, all of my joints were above recommended ranges. Flexy things came easy to me and I never had a problem with it.
This kind of body type is called “hypermobile” or “double jointed” as some people would say. Great right? Well, yes, you need flexibility to get your legs up around your head but also the demands put on the body during dance is phenomenal. Not only are these demands important in ballet but also for every day life. So to those that read this, I want you to tell your family, your friends and dog walkers what I’m about to tell you.
FLEXIBILITY MUST EQUAL STRENGTH.
I cannot stress this enough. This is imperative to support the force and stressors that go through the body not only during dance but soccer, basketball, AFL, rugby, any sport or even every day life! Flexibility must equal strength. I promise you, you will hear me harp on about this.
But back to dance for a second. I was only 11 when I auditioned, and at this age the body is very adaptable and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School agreed and I was later accepted. Life at the Victorian College of the Arts was amazing and something I will never forget. But I can assure you one thing…
This was not the last time I went to the Physiotherapist.
Part 2 to come!
By Lucy- May Pitt