Moar Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is prescribed in courses of nine appointments in Switzerland and today was my eighth one. I was not entirely happy with this. Modern only starts in two weeks and jazz and ballet classes won’t resume until September. While my adductors are feeling a lot better, I’m not entirely sure they’re 100% and I obviously haven’t had the chance to test them in class yet.

I warmed up well with some of the easier exercises before my appointment. Since the gym was nearly empty I decided to try some ballet jumps. The last time I did ballet, changements were noticeably painful and I didn’t even dare try any grand allegro. (It was a depressing class.) This time, everything worked fine, even grand jeté! The pas de chat took a surprising amount of guts to even try but once I finally did it, no protest was forthcoming from my muscles.

Mr. Adorable was working with a five-year-old boy at the time, kicking a ball around. (I tell you, literally every single patient gets to play ball but me!) My pas-de-chat moment got me thinking that it must be incredibly challenging to do physiotherapy with children. It often involves overcoming pain and more importantly, the fear of pain, which is hard enough for adults sometimes. My twelve-year-old brother (who is taller then me and broke his leg a while ago) is having trouble with it, so imagine how scary it must be for a pre-schooler. Mr. Adorable was, of course, adorable and the little boy was laughing by the end.

Then it was my turn and I definitely wasn’t laughing! He had me do the Copenhagen adduction from last time, which went surprisingly well. Inbetween, he said he’d like to continue working with me and that the practice would contact my doctor for a second prescription. I was very relieved. Nice, I thought. More physiotherapy, and with all the difficult exercises now manageable, the hardest part is over.

You’d think I’d know better by now.

«Very good», Mr. Adorable said of my adductor work. «And now, for the antagonists!»

Long story short, I now have to do all kinds of fun abductor exercises. I don’t mind too much as abductors are insanely useful in ballet. The exercises are, however, rather strenuous and Mr. Adorable, the total bastard that he is, did them with me instead of just showing them to me. I happen to be slightly competitive and there was no way in hell I was gonna give up before some physiotherapist guy!

Once I was safely collapsed on the mat and cured of my delusions, I told Mr. Adorable about the ballet jumps and how happy I was to be able to do them. «Great!», he said. «Do them!» Thus I ended up doing some grand allegro across the room. Mr. Adorable was a huge fan of it all, especially of the grand jetés. He learned their name, listened attentively to my technique explanation and then promptly modified them into something to torture me with. He instructed me to balance on one leg, knee bent, then grand jeté onto the other (no run-up) and balance on the landing leg. I did as instructed. He amended with instructions with the words «jump farther but without all the wriggling», concluding that «you have a lot of potential here». This translates into «your balance sucks», in case you were wondering.

And how does one fix a balance that sucks? By doing lots and lots of abductor exercises followed by lots and lots of modified grand jetés. Walking down the stairs on shaky legs after the appointment, I realised that the second prescription basically gives me a personal trainer for another two months if we continue sessions once a week. My legs are going to be so ripped, you guys!

PS: While Mr. Adorable’s grand jeté is what you would expect technique-wise, his super-long legs make it look better than mine and his balance is rock solid. It’s good I stumbled upon a super-fit therapist my own age – it riles me up when he can do a move better than me and I work harder.

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