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Thread: When you want to dance but physically can't




  1. #1
    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    When you want to dance but physically can't

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia last year and I've had to cut back my dancing. If I take my whole 2 hour dance class, I practically can't move the next day, so I only take an hour of it. I've been trying to follow my Physical Therapist's recommendation of some easy movement often, so I'm doing warm water aqua exercises and t'ai chi.

    But one of my problems is that I just am unable to dance as much as I'd like. I feel really sad that I can't do the choreographies with my class and sometimes can't make it to class at all. Mentally I'm all fired up to dance but physically can't do it!

    Have you been here due to injury or health issues? Is there some other way to scratch the dance itch when you can't do it? Suggestions welcome... I'm afraid that in my future I will be one of those older ladies who drums for dance classes because she can't dance anymore...
    Vashti Silks is my silk dye blog


  2. #2
    Official BHUZzer JDnRIA's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    I broke my leg a couple of months ago & couldn't dance. Not only do I love dance, but my fellow dancers are my favorite friends too, so I felt like I had lost my social circle as well. Fortunately, they were very understanding and let me control the music for them, so I at least got to hang around with them. I also watched more DVDs and YouTube to figure out combinations. Even though I can't do them now, I can write them down for later use. In addition, I am working more core stuff and shoulder stuff while I'm in the car, trying to maintain some semblance of practice.
    I practiced for the first time last week and although I couldn't do everything, I was still grateful to be doing something. Just do what you can when you can and try not to worry about the rest of it.
    Qamar60 likes this.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    I wrote an article about that for my web site after one of my students found herself recovering from an injury. I don't know how helpful it'll be for your situation, but here it is:

    When You Can't Belly Dance Due to Health Limitations


  4. #4
    Official BHUZzer planetceanna's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    tigerb, you're not alone. i have been out from dancing since august 2011 because of a recurring ankle sprain. now i am in a boot and in strict physical therapy. i know fibromyalgia is a whole nother ball game, but rest assured you're not the only one who's been physically limited.
    I also have watched tons of videos, and done more reading on the history! folkloric aspects, and when i do itch to dance, dancing light, a lot of taxim, if i feel i need to do something to stay connected. my dance company as well has been super supportive, and you will find there are many others out there to support you.
    fear not, it is not the end of it. perhaps cut your training time down and DO the tai chi and swimming a lot more.


  5. #5
    Official BHUZzer Ariadne_Eleni's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    I'm in the exact same boat tigerb and sometimes it's so frustrating I just can't express it. Shira's article is exactly what I have tried and it does help but even then sometimes I just have to take a break or I get depressed. The best thing I have found is to just listen to the music. Not just the usual dance music but regional music (that isn't pop) and older compositions that have strong melodies. It feeds the soul.

    You're not alone, hang in there.
    "He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." — Brigham Young


  6. #6
    I could get used to this! Nephele's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    big hug
    I know how you're feeling. I have a colostomy bag since june 2011. That means that my abdominal muscles were severed so that took a long time to mend. And dancing bare midriff is out of the question.
    I had to adjust the amount of dancing to what my body and mind could handle at that moment. Of course there were loads of times when I wanted to dance more but physically couldn't. That's when networking (thank God for Facebook) and helping colleagues out by volunteering and help organising events came in. I helped at hafla's and shows, always backstage and that gave me a lot of satisfaction too. It felt like I was still part 'of the scene'. It also meant that people didn't easily forgot about me so when I could start dancing again, I didn't have to build up my 'career' from scratch. I hope I'm making sense here...
    It takes a lot from you mentally, but you can try to find out where your dance limit is for the moment and make the most of the things you can still do.

    If there's one thing I've learned, it's that there are always solutions and that your spirit is a powerful thing...


  7. #7
    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    Quote Originally Posted by Shira View Post
    I wrote an article about that for my web site after one of my students found herself recovering from an injury. I don't know how helpful it'll be for your situation, but here it is:

    When You Can't Belly Dance Due to Health Limitations
    Great article, Shira! Thanks!
    Vashti Silks is my silk dye blog


  8. #8
    Established BHUZzer Mayliz's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    Yes, I can relate to a certain level. Im not completely certain of all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but I understand what it's like to be debilitated for an extended period of time. I had an injury back in late 2010 that put me in bed for 6 months. Couple that with multiple injuries to other body parts caused by my impatience. I ended up spending about a year out and I'm just now starting to get back into shape. I worked with a very encouraging chiropractor.

    Two things I can add to this conversation is that you can still try to make it to certain workshops, if your condition allows it. I did, and though I had to sit out some sections, I still made it through the three days. Another thing you can try is adding something completely different to your repertoire. I started piano lessons and have been learning a lot about the foundations of music. While I couldn't use my right arm for months because of my back injury, once it recovered, I found myself really interested in new things. The piano has been a godsend, and, while I have no ambitious goals, it is still a wonderful thing to play for an hour a day, not to mention that now that I can dance again, I find it enriches my understanding of music.


    Your condition does sound very different and I'm not sure if there is much 'recovery' in sight, but the beauty about humans is that we tend to learn to adapt.


  9. #9
    Advanced BHUZzer ra-chell's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    You guys are amazing! Here I was feeling sorry for myself because I did something stupid which made a old knee injury flare up and I've been limited in doing things including dance and workshops while it gets better. It's nothing compared to what some of you are going thru and you all have such positive attitudes! Thanks for the attitude adjustment!
    Taj likes this.


  10. #10
    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    Yes, these responses are all very helpful. Thanks, everybody.
    Vashti Silks is my silk dye blog


  11. #11
    Mega BHUZzer Sahirah_Badr's Avatar
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    Re: When you want to dance but physically can't

    Tiger, please don't give up!

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2000 (and some other artritis as well). It was almost a relief as I had been having symptoms/flares for many many years and wondered what was wrong. At the time of diagnosis, I was the main caregiver of my Dad (he was dying of cancer and was in his last few months), was raising my 2 year old, working FT and was fraying at the ends. I went down like a ball of flames one day - and literally could not get out of bed. I had to get help to go to the bathroom as the flare was so bad. Through all of this stress, which appears to be the trigger - I read everything I could on the subject, joined forums and educated myself as much as I could. The meds they tried on me made it worse -so I went the holistic path- and that for me, was key in my healing.

    I got my Yoga teacher certification in 2005 and decided my specialty would be arthritis and disability, in addition to children/maternity. YTT training is tough, and there were days I was so wiped out from a flare I could barely hold a pose. My instructor told me the most important message "Always respect the body, it is communicating with you and is trying to heal itself, so step back when you need to and listen!"

    Restorative Yoga when you are in a flare is extremely healing. This article has some images of the restorative poses that are easy and gentle, and do not require assitance. Fibromyalgia and gentle yoga | Women and Fibromyalgia

    I chose a more naturopathic/holistic path working with chiropractors who helped me manage my diet and helped with body issues when needed. My Rheumatologist knew and supported this - and he loved the fact I did Yoga as well. So I was working with a doctor - and did not self diagnose or shum medical treatments, but I learned what worked for ME.

    In dance, I have muddled through flares at times. I will tell you though, when I cut sugar and gluten out of my diet - a Rheumatologist found that my levels dropped within normal range! There are days I feel foggy and not so much like dancing. I've learned to discern whether it is me being lazy - or a warning of an approaching flare. If it is lazy me, I power through and always feel MUCH better, but if it is a flare - I go slow, sit out and pace myself.

    Reduce your stress as much as you can and be good to yourself with healthy food. Be consistent in exercise even if it is only Yogic breathwork and restorative poses. I have had days where that was all I could manage, and found if I listened, I was back feeling better in a few days.

    This is what worked for me, and please note I'm not an MD or holistic (but there are some Bhuzzers who are on this forum!) I am always happy to share what has kept me dancing.

    One other: Attitude is everything. Be positive, give love and be happy- no matter what- and you can overcome any obstacle.

    Good luck little doll and be well. Namaste and hugs.
    tigerb likes this.


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