Cramps and Flexibility

So it’s ten weeks since the shit hit the fan and this week (bar one class three weeks ago) I returned to ballet class. My poor body.

It’s amazing how quickly you lose ANY strength and flexibility that you had spent so much time and hard work on. I remember during the first few weeks of heartbreak sitting on the sofa pretty much most of all day everyday feeling any flexibility start to disappear. And I didn’t care about anything at that point as nothing mattered anymore. I remember thinking that the less I ate the more effort it would be to dance en pointe when I went back. I just didn’t expect it to take so long.

I guess it’s taken so long because it is the thing I love the most, the thing that makes me happiest and I was in no happy frame of mind to go.

Class the other week was exhausting. The classes this week really hit home how much ten weeks of absence has affected my body.

Cramps. Oh, the cramps. Constant cramps through my feet, fourth toes, insteps and calf muscles. The moment I went up en pointe I got cramp. I got cramp in my right foot while en pointe and EVEN when it wasn’t the supporting leg and was baring no weight. Cramp when my feet were just pointed. I went to do posé turns en pointe, the first in ten weeks so I was expecting to fall over, I didn’t fall, instead the supporting leg just decided to cramp at the calf. This theme continued throughout class. I even got cramp during frappés!

And then there is the small matter of flexibility. You really don’t miss something until it’s gone. On Monday I aggravated the previous pulled gracillis/adductor muscle in my right thigh just by stretching before class.

Wonderful.

Turns out you can feel that muscle during rond de jambe en l’air, developpés, fondus as well as good old grand battements.

“Be gentle, let’s not be a hero” was last night’s motto. All was just fine and dandy, and gentle until it came to stretches at the barre. So gentle with the right leg, that barely could rest it’s ankle on the barre for a little stretch without the mean muscle reminding me it was still there.

Ah, time for the left, no problem. And there it was, like a zip opening up, the left gracillis/adductor joined the right. All of that tight-ten-weeks-of-no-ballet muscle suddenly felt like it was torn back to ten weeks previous.

Even more wonderful.

So I got home and stretched through it. And tonight I did the same, warmed up properly and stretched through the discomfort. I want my flexibility back please.

But there was some success, pirouettes en pointe for the first time in ten weeks without falling over. Hallelujah. In fact, pirouettes just generally were pure happiness.

I’m so glad to be back.

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