It's terrible to get an injury in a dance class. It's harder to watch someone else have one. It's even harder as the instructor to both care for the injured and get the rest of the class where they need to go. Dance injuries usually don't happen in a big leap or trick on stage. It's generally when we are marking the movement and not paying attention. Tonight, a student fell the wrong way when marking a small side leap. As she went down, I remember feeling confusion at first, then shock, and then I started reacting. As I went to check on her and assess whether it was a 9-1-1 call or a R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) situation, the other dancers sprang into action, running to get ice. The dancer was able to get herself up and hobbled over to a chair with her frozen peas. She was upset and hurting, but still wanted to watch the rest of class. One dancer is down and the rest of the class is in shock. Now what? As a facilitator, I knew that a disruption to the group dynamic needs to be processed before work may continue. I asked the class what they would like to do - stop class here, mark the combination, or just go for it? They opted to mark the combination, which was good. It got them warmed up and rethinking about the task at hand. It was important to re-warm the body and mind. We completed class and made sure our injured colleague was able to get home with the help of a friend. It was true teamwork. Everyone stepped in and danced through it. In a facilitation situation, it may not be an injury but a sudden argument or an unexpected change in tension. My lesson from the studio is after the shock happens:
REST and attend to the injured.
Provide ICE by making sure they are okay.
De-COMPRESS by checking in with the group and providing options for next steps - do we stop the conversation, continue it, break it into chunks, etc.
ELEVATE - When a choice is made, take time to "warm-up" through an energizer or team-building activity.