From a few conversations I've had with non dancer friends recently I am beginning to see that normos think its easy for us 'professional dancers'. That it doesn't hurt.
So I just want to set the record straight. Of course it hurts! Every single day at some point I think ow! But I'm not trying to win normos' sympathy by writing this, I just don't want people thinking it's easy.
Having said that I think dancers have a different understanding/relationship to pain. I'm not sure quite how, or in what sense. A friend of mine often says she is sure that dancers are masochists, but perhaps it is just in terms of having a wider sensitivity to the different types of 'pain'.
When I think about it it feels as though the english language doesn't give us enough words to articulate the different types of sensations that we could call 'painful'. For example a strenuous exercise in class can hurt. It's a different type of hurting to when you hit your elbow, yet we use the same word to describe it. Although the difference could be in the mental approach to dealing with the hurt - strenuous exercises make you stronger, whilst hitting you elbow just hurts, so therefore hitting your elbow seems more painful, as there is no advantage from doing it.
Then there is pain. Stiffness and tight muscles can be pretty painful, but it's not the same as pain from an injury. Shooting pain is a sign of something bad happening/happened, niggling pain is a sign of something not quite right. All these things a dancer has to listen to, figure out in their own body and decided how painful is the pain and what is it telling me?
And they have no measure to go from, as we can't feel what pain feels like in someone else's body. Sometimes when people say something really hurts I think does it? You don't look in pain. But then I have to remind myself I have quite a high pain threshold so maybe it does really hurt for them.
Well, I think I will stop there as I can see this getting more and more abstract, when really all I'm trying to say is yes, dancing hurts.