Guest Post; How Researching Dance For Me Saved My Back
1 July, 2013
So today I have the author of Dance for me, Helena Newbury here for a guest post. She is telling you all about how her researching of her book actually helped her in ways she never could have imagined.
Hope you enjoy it!
How Researching Dance For Me Saved My Back
Natasha, the dancer at the heart of Dance for Me, spends hours each week at the barre doing stretches to enable her to fling herself into dramatic jetés during punishing ballets. I spend hours each week thinking up plot twists, so I can fling myself into dramatic writing sessions in which I sit on my ass for ten hours. Guess which of us winds up hobbling like Quasimodo when we finally quit for the day? Yup.
I can’t dance. I’ve never been able to dance, which is probably why dancers (and actors, and musicians) are so fascinating to me. But I do try to get to the gym a few times a week, and since I was reading up on dancer fitness anyway for the book, I thought I should at least try to work in some of their stretches—to know what they feel like, apart from anything else.
Lesson One. Dancers are not flexible. They are on a whole different level of flexibility. After a month, I couldn’t even manage full front splits. Being able to lift a leg over your head without stretching, shaking or grunting, all while maintaining balance, looks amazing on stage because it *is* amazing.
Lesson Two. If you spend most of your day sitting in an office chair, your hamstrings and/or quadriceps (“quads”) may be tight. I consulted a number of different trainers and they all told me the same thing. Imagine a rubber band stretched down the front of your thigh pulling you forwards, and another at the back pulling you back. If one is even a little tight, your posture will be completely shot and that in turn can give you all sorts of knock-on problems.
Eventually, I started working a stretching routine into my workouts—ten minutes of stretching my hamstrings, quads, abs and lower back. That loosened me up, but the real benefit of writing the book was to realize how much sitting down all day was leaving me a twisted, knotted wreck compared to the characters I was writing about. I introduced a hard limit of one hour on my writing sessions, after which I HAD to get up and walk around outside for a few minutes—even if I was in mid flow. The difference was amazing. I could actually work for longer and not feel exhausted, and while my posture is a long way from dancer-perfect, it’s a lot better than it was. Natasha: my back salutes you.
Have you ever been inspired to try something in real life after reading (or writing) about it? Leave a comment below and share it!
I’m a New Adult Romance author who loves writing about what happens when love and dreams collide with the real world. I wrote my first novel, Dance for Me, in daily chunks in a very busy, very noisy coffee shop, which meant I had to order a black Americano every hour, on the hour, to keep my seat and wound up wired on caffeine most days. Unlike my characters, I can’t dance.
Natasha is one of the most promising ballet dancers at the prestigious Fenbrook Academy of Performing Arts and she’s just landed a life-changing audition. But no one knows the guilt she carries…or the damage it makes her inflict on herself when she’s alone.
Darrell is a multi-millionaire designer at 25. But past traumas have pushed him into isolation and the intense pressure of his work has brought him to the edge of burnout. Seeking inspiration, he sees Natasha dance and hires her as his muse.
As she dances for him, the two become entwined in a passionate but troubled relationship. He starts to see the pain inside her and helps her gradually lower her defenses…but Darrell has demons of his own. Can two broken people save each other? Or will the darkness they’re hiding consume them both?
This New Adult Romance is recommended for 17+ due to mature themes, sexual situations and language.