Hands for Living: Sprain Or Strain?

NEWSLETTER

Helen Reilly is the newest addition to the Hands for Living Team. She is a skilled and caring occupational therapist, and also loves to dance. She shares some thoughts below on her interest outside of hand therapy! I love to dance. I’ve danced in some form or fashion most of my life. I started with ballet when I was 7 and moved on to jazz, swing, and Norwegian folk dancing. Currently, I’mhelping teach 7-12year olds ballet and taking a jazz class with my old studio. I love how the basic principle of movement to music is the same, even though dance can look very different depending on the style. Ballet conjures up images of disciplined “Degas-esk” ballerinas in tutus on the stage or at the bar, whereas swing conjures up images of jazzy night clubs and fast “free and easy” movements. They look vastly different but really, you’re just moving to a four or eight count beat. It’s not just the movement to music that I enjoy. I love the excitement, stress, and fun of putting together a recital. Our big spring/summer recital is around the corner and the studio is filled with old costumes that are getting re-fitted for a new purpose, glitter, ballet slippers, music, and whirling dancers. There is a jittery excitement that fills the air when StaffSpotlight Introducing Helen Reilly, OTR/L Occupational Therapist – and Dancer!

you’re preparing for a recital. I love putting together costumes and trying to visually capture an expression of music. In the studiowe ceaselessly drill tondues, plies, and pirouttes. We practice our dance routines thousands of times. We also practice what to do when the props fall over or we drop a hat on stage. No matter how well planned the recital is, something always happens. A dancer is sick, and the trio is now a duet; or costumes or props fail while on stage. Since the “show must go on”, you learn to roll with the punches to pull together the best performance you can. One of the best things I learned through performing is how to stay calmunder pressure when the music is wrong and the lights won’t turn on. After all, as Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage”.

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