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make your day dance

Oh %$#&, another broken toe

January 8th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Tags: ··

Occupational hazard?  Maybe. But I’ve only had one break dancing.

Not to shift the blame, but I couldn’t help noticing this week as I was reflecting-to-learn, that 3 of the 5 times I’ve broken a part of my foot have been with 5th graders. Not generally the 5th graders that still look like 4th graders, but the ones who’re well on their way to 6th or 7th grade bodies.  Nearly adult-size, without having the whole thing quite under control.  Exactly the ones for whom dance is great, cause it gives them a chance to practice using this whole, new, large-size body.

In fact, the very 5th grader whose heel my toe contacted the other day was just beginning to join the dance. She’s pretty nearly my height now & really reticent about moving, restrained not only by size but head scarf, robes & dance-averse background.  But she’s been coming to the dance studio at recess every day to watch others dance.  During recess this week she finally took her shoes off & joined in on Tinikling, checking out the rhythm of the sticks with her foot, hopping through & practicing with a partner.  It was in the class immediately following those ventures. I was helping her group set up the sticks, she was joining in during class for the first time, and my toe contacted her heel.   No one but me heard the telltale crack, so the dancing went on while I retreated, thinking “oh @#$, another broken toe!”  Right foot, 4th toe.  Nursing it & watching her dance, I mentally ran through the upcoming steps: accident report, trip to the doc, x-ray, ice, wrap…

My 2nd toe on the right foot, the one that mended crooked, cured me of nonchalance.  Yes, toes mend nicely by themselves, but only if they’re still aligned!  That toe met Big Tony, 5th grade, enthusiastically and spatially everywhere.

Flash back 2 more years: 5th grade, the Hora, I almost-but-didn’t step on someone’s foot while the line spiralled inward.  Right foot, 5th metatarsal broken in 2 places, surgery & 2 pins, 2 weeks home, 4 weeks teaching on a knee scooter.  That’s the one I broke while dancing — but still, with 5th graders!

Of course, the other 2 broken toes — one against a rock & the other against a vacuum — skew more to the dancers-are-clumsy-in-real-life theory.

In any case, I do know from experience that it’ll mend, and this time the x-ray shows a well-aligned fracture, so I’ll be back to normal in a few weeks.  If I don’t bump it again.

On the positive side, in 15 years, student injuries have so far all been solved with a quick trip to the nurse for an icepack.

And what have I learned, besides “get an x-ray”?  Wear my studio shoes with the 5th graders!

4 Comments so far ↓

  • Malke Rosenfeld

    Oh no! I do hope that it heals quickly and easily for you.

    On a side note, it’s funny (or cool, or both) that you mention tinikling. You’ll laugh when I send you a copy of my article that’ll be published in the April-June Teaching Artist Journal (or do you already subscribe?) I taught some tinikling when I first started teaching clogging. It was that experience that inspired the development of my jump patterns tool which reflect the elements of percussive dance. It was also the time when I started using tape on the floor — knocking those poles together was altogether too precarious for everyone involved, so I taped two pole lines on the floor to practice in. A small bit of Math in Your Feet trivia for you!

    Heal well!

  • megrm

    Thanks, I’m doing fine! Just inconvenienced! Great to hear about your adventures with Tinikling… and taping the poles down. Sounds like a great idea to just put some tape on the floor for practice — maybe I’ll do that next week, so dancers can practice when it’s not their turn! Thanks for the pointer!

  • Deborah Robson

    Ouch. You just got healed up! I’m glad you have learned to get the toes checked (and sorry one toe had to teach you that).

    Fifth grade. It was a strange year for me growing up. Probably the strangest. I’d forgotten.

  • megrm

    I don’t suppose anyone wants to go back to 5th grade! My toe seems to be healing decently — it’s gotten so I forget to tape it, so it must be better!