Monday, February 2, 2009

Dancing Complications

For many years I have been a contra dancer, dance caller and occasional English Country Dancer. I've also done a bit of Morris dance, Scottish Country dancing and I truly love to waltz. But age does take it's toll on the body, and for the last few years I have been experiencing pain in my right toes (particularly 'roast beef' and 'none'). It's painful not only after a few hours of dance, but also after hiking or strenuous walking.

Over the last 2 years, I have increasingly enjoyed English country dancing (ECD). It's easier on the body, less crowded and my fellow dancers are older. Contrary to many communities, contradance is quite a youth scene in the Asheville area. We have 3-4 dances per week and they are all packed in like sardines without oil. I love to contradance - don't get me wrong. I still volunteer with both the Old Farmer's Ball and the Monday night dance. I go, dance a few, then visit with friends (while knitting, of course) or go home. But I prefer a bit of room to dance with partners of my generation.

So since I finished grad school, I have gotten involved with the local English dance. I attended 2 ECD weekends last spring where I was the worst dancer at the events. Not to brag, but that means the dance quality was really, really good! Here I am dancing Handel With Care at the Sun Assembly's spring dance weekend in 2008. I'm in the black top with long skirt.

I have even started leading English dances, but still only have a repertoire of about 8 dances.

But back to the foot. I was just sick of hurting. After my hike in Georgia a few weeks ago, I noticed a definite swelling on my 2 affected toes as well as a burning on the ball of the foot, so I finally broke down and went to the podiatrist. I thought that going to the foot doctor was a sure sign of OLD AGE, but I prefer to think of it as staying younger. I don't intend to stop dancing, hiking, walking to town, living my life. Turns out I have an incredibly common Morton's Neuroma - a 'callous' on the nerve bundle that has an 'outlet' right at the base of the 2 toes. So after a week with a metatarsal pad to adjust my arch, and 2 shots of cortisone, and a week of babying my footie, I feel a bit better. Most importantly, I know what I have. I also have over-the-counter, somewhat customized orthotics. I have every intention of dancing at both the Sun Assembly and Nashville weekends, even if I have to pace myself between now and then.

What do I want to do? Walk wherever I want to go! Hike many miles! Dance forever!

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