My left foot was in fairly excruciating pain and I had a couple of hours to decide if I was going to pull out of the show that night. Despite the painkillers and anti-inflammatories, every time I even began to point my foot a sharp stab shot through me, up almost to my knee. I knew I'd landed a bit off one too many times from jumping in rehearsal, and the tiny bones in the top of my foot were probably misaligned. All too often, dancers ignore pain as part of daily wear and tear, until it's a bit late.
I thought I wouldn't be able to dance that evening every time I felt the pain and looked at my swollen foot, but the only times I'd pulled out of a performance were because I was either completely bedridden with the flu or I'd injured myself to the point of not being able to physically leave the house. In other words, if I could get my body out the door, I would dance.
And so I danced, and during those moments onstage I was happy. I could have danced more - danced bigger without fear - but oddly enough there was no fear in my heart even though my body registered the pain. In fact, I was more anxious about watching the video later, preparing to wince at a half-baked performance. I was relieved to see that I appeared to be enjoying myself as much as I had felt while dancing onstage.
These are the times I pray that the love that burns inside me shines brighter than any technical shortcomings. I hope that you, too, can feel a bit of the joy I wish to give every chance I get to dance.