woensdag 21 mei 2014

Unfortunate pirouette, the English account

More than 17 years ago I lived in the US. In the nineties I studied dance at the University of New Mexico. The initial plan was to spend one year at UNM in Albuquerque but I loved it so much I stayed for 4 years until I had earned my bachelor degree in fine arts (suma cum laude no less).

Afterwards I spent another year in San Francisco working for Impact, a lighting company, and dancing as much as possible. I look back on those five US years as the most wonderful, challenging and exciting years of my life. The three fun facets were sun, dance and great friends.

Thanks to facebook I have kept in touch with many of my fellow dancers at UNM. Some of them still dance, like Adrienne Clancy and inspirational teacher Bill Evans, many of them have switched to yoga (Kate and Melissa among others) and the flamenco women Stephanie and Julia are still as feisty as ever. I usually post in Dutch but this time my worried American friends deserve a full report they do not need to put through Google translate.

I'm not a professional dancer  but I still dance about three times a week. I occasionally teach dance class (I've taught weekly classes for five years and then decided I preferred taking class to teaching). Every two years I choreograph a piece for Kriskin, the dance studio I take class at. I wish I had the opportunity to choreograph more often...

My choreography two years ago,
dancing first row on the right


Last February - I was working on my choreography for the Kriskin show (it's this weekend!), rehearsals had started - I went to my Tuesday dance class to work on my technique and flexibility. It was a fun combination with a double turn ending in a jump, open - close - open. Over the years I must have done that move about a hundred times, the fifth time I did it that evening I messed up: my foot went one direction, the knee another. Result: I tore the anterior cruciate ligament and the meniscus in my right knee.

ACL reconstruction


The ACL stabilizes the knee during turns and quick stops, you definitely need it in dance. Thank God we still have afffordable health care in Belgium (yes, I'm worried about the upcoming elections, also this weekend). I had to wait a couple of months but last Wednesday I finally got a brand new ACL put in place by one of the best surgeons in the field. Dr Lagae specializes in knee surgery and has helped many professional athletes.

It will take six months of exercises with a physical therapist before I will be able to dance again. The Move to Cure team will get me back in shape. The expertise of Lieven Maesschalck and his team of therapists will get me to dance again as I did before. They're the top as well, working with our Belgian Red Devils for instance (I'm talking soccer now).

So, dear American dance friends, no need to worry. I'll be back on the dance stage before you know it. Although switching to yoga doesn't seem like a bad idea either.

Miss you all very much

Heidi double U

Suki John's 'The Human Engine', Rodey Theatre in the Fine Arts Center at UNM - March 28, 1993

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