Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Prince: Pain and Dance

Screen-Shot-2016-04-25-at-10.11.14-AM

While the media is predictably concentrating on Prince’s alleged drug addiction, and seizing upon another opportunity to shame a black male celebrity for ratings, only Sheila E. addressed the connection between dance and pain. It is said that all of the survivors of one famous dance troupe are bound to wheelchairs. Why? This stress can cause such injury to the body that dancers might seek relief through chemicals, some of which have bad side effects.

In fact most dancers chose to retire from performing by 35 years of age because of trauma or overuse causing wear and tear on the body.  At the time of his death, April 21st at age 57, Prince Rogers Nelson had been performing for 38 years, following his professional debut in 1978. As reported in a Rolling Stone obituary by Kory Grow, early in his performance career, Prince “would sometimes strip down to bikini underpants and do exercise routines onstage.”   His music videos show Prince enjoying the execution of high kicks and lightning fast drops to the floor in leg splits. Sheila E. described how he would jump off stages or sound equipment while wearing high heels, a signature trademark of his style.

Repetitive extreme or high impact actions are likely to cause injury when executed by anyone during the ongoing practice of dance or athletics. Especially without a careful regimen of strength training and warm-ups, as hips are the main axis of all leg movement, they can place intolerable stress on the joints, often resulting in osteoarthritis.  Seventy-four dancers, athletes, gymnasts, martial artists and yoga practitioners who required medical treatment to relieve such conditions appear on www.dancerhips.com, including such iconic stars as dancers Suzanne Farrell and Bebe Neuwirth, and athletes Pelé and Jimmy Connors.

According to  a 2011 study conducted  by Dr. Douglas Padgett, Chief of Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement at San Diego’s Hospital for Special Surgery,

“Professional dancing is a particularly physically demanding occupation with annual injury rates of 67% to 95%, with over 20% of these being hip injuries. ‘Hip injury is very common in professional dancers. Many of these individuals tend to be hyper mobile. They are performing very rapid loading and landing activities and an extreme range of motions…’”

There are reports that prior to his death, Prince was seen using a cane when not onstage. Professional dancers, like professional athletes, often resist being sidelined by pain and injury. They ignore the report from the March 2014 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery that their work makes them vulnerable to hip and knee replacement operations. These are among the most commonly performed operations in the U.S.

Having personally experienced a full hip replacement, I can verify there is incessant pain once a joint deteriorates to bone on bone. However, even that level of pain may not seem as difficult as undergoing hip or knee surgery, which is likely to require a minimum of three to six months of recuperation and rehabilitation, depending on the particulars of the operation.

Many testify they do not feel pain while performing, even though in the long run continuing to perform can increase the severity of an injury.  This was likely the attitude and situation of Prince, which led to his use of prescription painkillers. He was once asked in an interview, “Do you think you will ever retire?”  He replied, “I don’t know what it is. There’s always some way to serve. And I never felt like I had a job.”

More articles by:

Carla Blank’s most recent book is “Storming the Old Boys’ Citadel: two Pioneer Women Architects of Nineteenth Century North America,” co-authored with Tania Martin. She collaborated with Robert Wilson on “KOOL, Dancing in My Mind,” which premiered at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum in 2009. In May 2015 she directed a production of Ishmael Reed’s play, “Mother Hubbard” in Xiangtan, China, and in September 2015 she directed Yuri Kageyama’s “News From Fukushima” at New York’s LaMama Café Theater.

May 24, 2018
Gary Leupp
Art of the Dealbreaker: Trump’s Cancellation of the Summit with Kim
Jeff Warner – Victor Rothman
Why the Emerging Apartheid State in Israel-Palestine is Not Sustainable
Kenn Orphan
Life, the Sea and Big Oil
James Luchte
Europe Stares Into the Abyss, Confronting the American Occupant in the Room
Richard Hardigan
Palestinians’ Great March of Return: What You Need to Know
Howard Lisnoff
So Far: Fascism Lite
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Norman Finkelstein on Bernie Sanders, Gaza, and the Mainstream Treatment
Daniel Warner
J’accuse All Baby Boomers
Alfred W. McCoy
Beyond Golden Shower Diplomacy
Jonah Raskin
Rachel Kushner, Foe of Prisons, and Her New Novel, “The Mars Room”
George Wuerthner
Myths About Wildfires, Logging and Forests
Binoy Kampmark
Tom Wolfe the Parajournalist
Dean Baker
The Marx Ratio: Not Clear Karl Would be Happy
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail