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A couple of years ago, my undissolved plica began to pinch with every plié, rendering day-to-day movements such as climbing stairs or standing up from a chair an unpleasant challenge.The jumping and partnering required in ballet posed a much bigger problem, of course, but I continued to dance while searching for solutions.Outside of the studio and offstage, I sustained a few mild concussions, 13 stitches to the back of the head, bruises and black eyes, and torn rib cartilage. Bauman worked their miracles and I didn’t cancel a show for most of a decade—until Achilles tendinitis (in that right ankle) forced me out of a performance of Harald Lander’s . Confidence must be tempered with caution, and a sense of abandon secured by knowledge of the body’s weaknesses.I’ve finally begun to embrace these self-evident truths.When miseries pile up, I’ve found that a bit of perspective helps deliver me from the quicksand of discouragement and self-pity.I seek inspiration from those who have shown grace and courage in grave situations—individuals who shatter our ideas about endurance and excellence.Last August, after lengthy discussions with my holy trinity of healers, I surrendered my plica to Dr. Every time I seemed to gain confidence as an athlete and traction as a professional, I suffered an injury to that bum ankle.Each of those setbacks was a crucible from which I emerged mentally tougher, and although my career stalled, I gained a deeper awareness of dance’s precarious charms. After my last ankle surgery, I vowed to push beyond any future injuries, and barring true catastrophe, to never miss another performance.

In the studio and onstage, I worked around and through labral tears in both hips; pinched nerves; pulled muscles; sprained digits, wrists, and ankles; rotated vertebrae; stone bruises; tendinitis; and plantar fasciitis.But superstition forever lurks in the pe­riphery of the mind, eager to muddle it up.(I admit I’m even uncomfortable writing about this subject, as if these very words will draw the ire of the injury demons.) Like ballplayers desperate to keep a hitting streak alive, my colleagues and I inevitably develop rituals intended to ward off injury and ensure a good show, from simple wood-knocks to elaborate pre-show meals and warm-ups.I took increasingly strong anti-inflammatories and piously adhered to the rituals of icing, stretching, and massage.I received treatment from ABT’s revered physical therapists, Peter Marshall and Julie Daugherty, and cortisone injections from the world-renowned Dr. Before rehearsals and performances, I taped Lidocaine patches to my knees in an effort to numb the plica area.