“As a young studio dancer, I remember being afraid to come out of a balance or not do something full out, even if it hurt me. The culture at the studio was ‘push through the pain’ or you were seen as lazy.” says Miss Melissa, a teacher at MOVE by Morelli.
Dance was my home away from home, the place where I felt like I belonged and I wouldn’t dream of sitting out even if I was in pain. But after 16 years of competitive dance my body started to feel the effects of the “push through it no matter what” culture that I grew up in. My achilles tendons were weak, my knees felt like they could give out at any moment and I just generally did not feel as strong as I once did. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who this effected. Owner and director Missy Morelli experienced something similar during her time as a dancer.
“Because of the dance culture I too grew up in, I had ignored my MS symptoms for so long, because I also was used to just dancing through pain.” says Missy Morelli.
That’s when we decided our students deserve better. How can I teach them to be strong, resilient and not give up while still teaching them to listen to their bodies.
Some dancers often ignore pain as a way to show their full commitment and that is something that needs to change. As teachers it is our job to treat our dancers like athletes whose body is their instrument and help them learn how to prioritize their health.
Move by Morelli has partnered with 4corners Sports Performance to make sure our dancers have the information and the resources to stay healthy and have longevity in dance. “Working with young athletes of all ages and abilities in their respective sports, it is important that we understand that pain is NOT normal and is our body telling us that we need to take a step back and assess what is going on because something is not right. Often times pain in a particular area is rooted from an underlying deficit in strength, mobility and/or stability and addressing these issues and deficits before they turn into major injuries is critical for long term health and success. The faster someone comes to us or talks about what they are feeling, the faster we as physical therapists can return them to pain free competition, often times competing at a higher level than they were before they walked in to see us. It is important for young athletes to be proactive with their health and to bring up any aches and pains as soon as they arise, not waiting for weeks or months to say something once the pain is unbearable because ultimately this leads to poor performance in competition and missing time doing what he/she loves to do.” says David Fathalikhani, physical therapist at 4corners sports performance.
It’s time that the dance community shifts its focus to creating healthy dancers who take care of their bodies. As a dance educator, it is so important that we create a space where dancers are not afraid to speak up when something doesn’t feel right and that we use the “listen to your body” ideology.
Physical therapy, sports recovery and training with teachers who are knowledgeable and credible are all ways we can help our dancers stay healthy. We are committed to keeping our dancers happy and healthy and want to produce a new generation of dancers who are strong and able to avoid injury with the skills they learn throughout their dance training. That’s why we are so excited to have 4corners right next door to Move by Morelli! Our dancers have these resources right at their finger tips and we will now be able to ensure that our students have the absolute best chance at a long, healthy dance career!