General Dance Discussion > Injuries from lifting partner

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Adrenaline, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline New Member

    Recently my dance partner and I have ventured into the acrobatic end of dance to expand our repertoire. We are both in our 40s and athletic builds. I am 160 lbs. She is 140 lbs.. The first injury happened to her. She dislocated a rib during a maneuver where I lift her body horizontally and move her around (you could actually see the rib sticking out of her back). After a month off from acrobatics, visits to the chiropractor and daily exercises, it was put back in place. It still pops, but the chiro recommended continuing unless it hurts.

    The other day we were trying another maneuver whereby she dangles upside down gripping my shoulder with one knee, then I lift her . . . . anyway, the following two days I have been experiencing a couple different types of pain associated with my hip area - pain in the rear of the join, and short sharp pains in the upper groin areas (close to where the femur connects to the pelvic bone). So I'm taking a few days off.

    We live in a dance center with many qualified people, and have spent months trying to engage coaches to help us out with aerial work, but it seems no one is interested or returns our calls. I guess they're too busy making $millions. So in the meantime we're left to work on our own.

    I'm interested to know if anyone has experienced similar problems from lifting people and what you did to prevent injuries? Thanks for any advice you can offer!
  2. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Okay, I'm going to give some blunt advice:

    1. Please tell me she saw a real doctor and not just the chiropractor.

    2. As someone who has done skating and dance lifts: Stop it RIGHT NOW. If neither of you has prior experience and from the sound of it you don't you have NO BUSINESS working on lifts. That kind of injuries and pain are not normal and it means one or both of you is doing something very wrong. No one on here can see you, so no one on here can tell you what you're doing that's causing it. Even when one partner is experienced, accidents can happen. Two without experience and unsupervised is a recipe for disaster.

    If you're in Chicago I find it hard to believe you've tried everyone who knows how to teach theater arts. Ask here (ballroom forum or swing forum, depending on what your base style is, would probably be good places) and I would be there are plenty of people who can point you in the right direction. (I'd suggest one of the pros at the studio I go to, who's very talented at theater arts, but we'd be a two or three-hour drive, depending on where you are in Chicago.) Just, please, do NOT keep trying to do this without supervision. Lifts can be very dangerous. Forget a rib, a fall out of an inverted lift can break your NECK.
  3. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member


    One, you need a DOCTOR, fast--particularly because you are in your 40's--to have pain checked.
    You don't want chronic pain that can stall your dance effort.

    Two, you need a coach before you get another injury.
    Most, if not all, weight-lifters will tell you that lifting is a technical matter.
    Lifting a dance partner is NO EXCEPTION.

    Forgive my saying this, but attempting aerials by yourself, without the benefit of a learned coach, is inviting disaster (not to say the height of irresponsibility).

    You can very easily MAIM, PARALYZE, or even worse, kill your partner.

  4. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Let me add my voice to the chorus. Get your injuries examined by a qualified MD, and stop doing any lifts until you have an experienced coach working with you.
  5. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Death from aerials isn't just hypothetical. It's actually happened.
  6. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    In fact it's harder and more dangerous. Weights don't move of their own volition, and don't care if you break them.
  7. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    I completely agree with the posts above. At the very least, you should both see medical doctors. In addition, I say this respectfully as someone who does not know anything about aerial lifts: maybe you both should see a psychiatrist, because it sounds to me like some kind of masochistic stuff you and she are engaging in. I hope that both of you get the medical and or other professional help that you need.
  8. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Please watch what happens at 2:10. Those are Olympic-level skaters (indeed, future gold medalists.) They've been doing lifts for YEARS at this point. He got slightly off-balance and she wound up with several cracked ribs and a concussion. The floor's not any softer than ice.
  9. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline New Member

    Well, now it's nearly 4 weeks after the injury occurred. I appreciate some of your cautions and comments, people. Unfortunately the pain has not gone away. While I don't have sharp pain anymore, I still have a lot of soreness in the joint and groin areas. For the first 2 weeks I spent most of the time limping instead of walking normally. I've had to completely stop dancing, since then much to my frustration as well as that of my dance partner. I've also had to cancel my students which is a financial loss to me. I even had to stay out of my full time job and pretty much lie in bed for the first week with heavy doeses of Advil.

    Danceronic, I may not have turned over every rock in town, to search for an acrobatic coach, but we did spend some time reaching out to well established schools. Our base style is neither of those you listed, and has classical elements, and that is why I'm posting on this forum. We tried the best schools in town. First we spoke with an instructor at Hubbard Street Dance who said he would help out, but following up he never returned our emails or phone call. Then we tried someone with aerial experience at Giordano Dance. She never responded to our messages. So we next tried contacting the director of Giordano. Again, no response. I guess they are only interested in coaching big names. We're small potatoes as far as they are concerned. But at this point, I'm not really thinking about acrobatic movement, I'm just trying to preserve my health.

    I saw a renowned spinal specialist 3 weeks ago at Northwestern Medical who said my back was not the issue. After some x-rays on the back ONLY, he stated: "You have a little bit of arthritis, but that's normal for someone in their mid forties. The problem is in your hip. You probably have a Labral Tear (torn cartilage). 4-6 weeks of physical therapy, and if that doesn't work, please see my colleague who specializes in hips. I see no reason why you should not be able to return to acrobatics. Just keep in mind that if you continue immediately, the recoverly time will take longer."

    I have since made an appointment to see his colleague at Northwestern who is a well known sports medicine physician specializing in shoulders, knees and hips. I see him a little over a week from now. It seems the appointment cannot come fast enough! While I still exercise at the gym I cannot begin to twist my legs for dancing, and it's possible a bicycle or other machine at the gym may be irritating my hip. The unusual thing about this injury is that if I do aggravate the injury, it doesn't seem to surface until the following day. But I have no other advice coming to me right now, except from an occasion consultation with a physical therapist. Hopefully a CT Scan or Contrast MRI will tell exactly what is going on.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about the ongoing injury-related issues, Adrenaline. Hang in there.

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