Movement & Recovery
Movement & Recovery
Movement & Recovery

Movement & Recovery

Pain prevention tips for a 100% natural recovery.

Last Updated: July 30, 2019
Contributor: Megan-Rose Talbot-Kelly

Most professional dancers—particularly ballet dancers—will take their final bow by the time they turn 35. As captivating as it is, the artistic sport comes with the cost to the athletes when they are no longer able to withstand the physical rigors of the profession. In a dreamy, light filled studio with glass mirrors and a perimeter of barres, we sat down with Ballet BC’s professional dancers Parker Finley and Scott Fowler to talk pain, prevention and recovery.

Off stage, a glowing 21 year old Parker Finley tells us dance wasn’t always her life’s pursuit. “Earlier in my life, I wanted to be a dermatologist. However, a summer intensive program at Houston Ballet Academy made it clear that dance would forever consume me”. Scott Fowler is warming up for his 8th season with Ballet BC. “We’ve danced all over the world, but my fondest memory is dancing at Sadler’s Wells in London - it's considered to be a huge accomplishment in the world of dance”.

If I don’t listen to what my body has to say, that’s when injury occurs. When it comes to pain specifically, I really believe that if I regulate my emotions, I can regulate pain.

— Parker Finley, Professional Dancer | Ballet BC

 

Interviewing Ballet BC's professional dancers Parker Finley and Scott Fowler

 

Q: Being so deeply involved with a career that demands consistent strength and resilience from you body, what has been your biggest learning about pain and recovery in your career?

 

A: Finley: “Being an athlete, I've learned a lot about my own anatomy. I wasn’t an injured dancer until choosing to do this professionally. Now at this level, I'm required to practice repetitive movement at a higher intensity. If I don’t listen to what my body has to say, that’s when injury occurs. When it comes to pain specifically, I really believe that if I regulate my emotions, I can regulate pain.”

A: Fowler: “I work with a physiotherapist who supports me in checking in with myself. Recovery and prevention is a full time job, and it’s not just about checking in on the sidelines. What it’s really about is choosing to be aware in every moment of how I'm loading up my muscles and joints. There is a risk in every movement, awareness is key, as is taking initiative before injury occurs.

When the body can’t reset, it’ can’t perform for you

— Parker Finley, Professional Dancer | Ballet BC

 

Q: With such vigorous and constant movement, how do you check in with your body to ensure it’s performing for you?

 

A: Finley: “It’s something I do by actively tuning into every sensation. It’s all about a mind-body connection for me. One of my favourite classes at Ballet BC leads dancers through a full body meditation before any kind of movement, which sets a tone for me to become present”.

 

Q: Could you share some of you favourite ways to prevent injury?

 

A: Finley: “In this line of work, I’m expected to be perfect. If I don’t perform to a certain standard, I simply won’t get the job. I’ve been nursing a back injury, and I can’t have that getting in the way of my career. My secret weapon is ice, and I use it every day to reduce inflammation. Alignment is also important for me, so I use therapy balls for trigger point release.”

 

Q: Any pro tips on stretching?

 

A: Finley: “Everything I'm currently doing is to support my back injury.

  1. Plank: This is the first thing I do before any movement because it fires up all of the muscles near my spine and triggers a deep core activation.
  2. Upward Dog: Strengthens the spine, arms and wrists and encourages a better posture”.

A: Fowler: “I’m in a constant pursuit of keeping my hips open, it’s become a running joke here at Ballet BC. If someone can’t find me, it’s usually because off stretching somewhere. My go-to’s are:

  • Dynamic Stretching: I take my muscles close to full range of movement and follow up with light resistance to move into a deeper range.
  • Pigeon: Contemporary choreography equates to hips being engaged at all times when dancing. A constant flexion will shorten the quad muscles and ripple into the back. This kind of chain reaction merits the daily practice of pigeon pose.”
  •  

    Interviewing Ballet BC's professional dancers Parker Finley and Scott Fowler

     

    Q: How do you support yourself when you get injured?

     

    A: Fowler: “I breathe,slowly and deeply. I find we can forget to do this when under stress or pain. Last year, I can recall a neck injury that left me laying down on the sidelines. I immediately started to check my mobilization and quickly figured out that found that the deeper I could breathe, the more it gave me access to my mobility”.

     

    Ballet BC's professional dancers Parker Finley and Scott Fowler with Saje

     

    “The rest of my healing rituals depend on the type of injury I'm experiencing. The first 24-48 hours is about eliminating the pain as much as I can. In the meantime, I’m always working areas of my body that could start to compensate for the injury. Only once the injury starts to heal do I allow myself to stretch and manipulate it.”

    Pain Release and Stress Release are by far my favourite roll-ons to support my back injury. I love to combine the oils with my epsom salt baths and icing ritual.

    — Parker Finley, Professional Dancer | Ballet BC

     

    Q: How have Saje products supported you through recovery?

     

    A: Finley: “When I started dancing with Ballet BC, I was immersed into the world of Saje products. I actually think it was Scott who first rolled Peppermint Halo on my head and shoulders! All of our dancers are devoted to the products. Pain Release and Stress Release are by far my favourites to support my back injury. I love to combine the oils with my epsom salt baths and icing ritual.”

     

    Ballet BC's professional dancers Parker Finley applying Saje Pain Release essential oil roll-on

     

    A: Fowler: “I’m a Pocket Farmacy guy! We’re often on the road and not eating the same foods, which can very quickly impact our well-being. Eater’s Digest was the first Saje product I was introduced to when I was experiencing stomach discomfort while travelling for a show—it felt so good on my stomach. I’ve also become a fan of Peppermint Halo for neck and shoulder tension. I turn to Stress Release when I feel more nervous than usual—the smell calms my nerves. I also really enjoy the Energy Roll-On, it’s a great pick me up after hours of dancing and keeps me feeling revitalized”.

    Whether you’re a pro at closing fifth position or just love to crank up the tunes and dance in your living room, listening to the messages your body is communicating is always key in injury prevention. Pain is about meeting the body where it is on its journey. More specifically it’s about practicing the utmost patience and trusting that our bodies, so long as we listen and help them in the process, will always strive to keep us moving forward.


Megan-Rose Talbot-Kelly
Contributor
Megan-Rose Talbot-Kelly
National Educator
As the National Educator at Saje Natural Wellness, Megan-Rose shares a personal wellness perspective and invites us into the spirit of holistic well-being. Megan-Rose holds designations in Reiki/Massage, Yoga Teaching, Nutrition and Aromatherapy that further support her in her goals of elevating global wellness, everyday. Outside of her affinity for research and education, Megan-Rose can be found hiking and stargazing on the west coast, nurturing her garden, and indulging in new plant based recipes.
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