Speakers Corner

Let's Dance

31 January 2015
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By Jenny Snook, Dublin

Ballet dancing is a hobby that I've enjoyed for almost 25 years; not just as a way of keeping fit, but as a love that I'll buy a ticket for no matter what company it's being performed by. When I had surgery for my epilepsy two years ago, I had to stop dancing for over a year. I knew that I'd be going back to it but had to think of a way to keep my motivation up.

Tai chi was a gentle form of exercise that I found I could perform several months after surgery. Often known as 'meditation in motion', it was a great form of relaxation that I still practice with a dedicated instructor. Quite soon after surgery I began to take fast walks of 3-4km daily.

When I went back to ballet last year, my teacher told me that she was amazed my technique hadn't dipped back. The tai chi and daily walks have really helped, not just to keep my mood better and energy levels flowing but to keep my muscles strong and toned to get back into the hobby that I love.

To become a teacher with a Royal Ballet degree, there is an exam that I've never had the chance to take. It's an exam I've wanted to take for years but there's always been the issue of surgery and other problems regarding epilepsy, such as post-seizure psychosis. I have now planned to take my Intermediate exam for next spring with a friend that I've done many of my exams with, now teaching herself. There may be one warm-up exercise of constant jumping on the spot that I might not be able to perform for my Intermediate exam, but I'm looking forward to taking the rest of it.

It's been almost two years since my surgery and it has taken a long time to recover. I have changed from taking three different brands of medication, to just one. I still suffer from seizures, but less than half of the amount I used to and they only happen at night. It's a big improvement from the regular seizures that used to occur at any time if I felt too warm or even a little sleepy.

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