A friend of mine, a dancer, was injured yesterday, in the course of an ordinary rehearsal – but what is “ordinary” for performers is extraordinary for the human body. A joint broken in three places, a cast, and a different trajectory for the next few months are the result. Thankfully, it’s not a serious injury. It’s one that someone in good health should bounce back from with time, as I’m sure my friend will, being in the best health of anyone I know. But it was a rude awakening from the dream that we work in.
I read an article on ArtsJournal a few weeks ago about dancers having a higher rate of injury than professional football players. I can’t find that link again, but here’s a longer and grim post from their ArtsWatch blog about the many things that make a career in that field tough.
It makes an interesting point about “audience estrangement” (their phrase) and the world of dance, as compared to the parallel audience decline in the music world:
Classical music critics point to audience estrangement from atonal music in the second half of the 20th Century as a reason for classical music’s decline with the public. No such claim can be made for dance. Contemporary dance has continued to evolve and produce stars. Small modern companies do some of the most exciting work in all of contemporary arts, and the field is vibrant with new ideas. More traditional companies never stopped offering plenty of classic fare.
And yet, even the top companies are a difficult sell when they tour [SJ Mercury News] outside the largest cities…