Just three weeks into the season, Ballet Victoria's principal dancer Andrea Bayne was rehearsing so hard for an upcoming performance that she broke her foot.
Following a gruelling hours-long rehearsal for Ballet Rocks, the ballet’s first performance of the season and Bayne's personal favourite, she went to her home in Cook Street Village and went to bed.
In the middle of the night, she got up and rolled her ankle.
“When it happened, I heard the crack,” Bayne said. “It definitely hurt, but I think I was in shock.”
She started doing plies and tondues to see how badly she was injured, something she could do easily. She figured she hadn't injured herself that badly so she took a painkiller.
But two hours later, her ankle swelled up and she decided to go to the emergency room.
Bayne had broken her fifth metatarsal in her left foot (the first bone she had ever broken) and had a cast put on, which forced her off the stage for all upcoming performances.
For the next few months, Bayne focused all her efforts on regaining strength in her foot. She did Pilates, cardio training and physiotherapy daily to keep the blood flowing to her left foot.
Within six weeks her hard work and perseverance paid off — her foot healed fully and she returned to the stage with a stronger core as well.
“I turned something really devastating into something positive. I think that's something we all have to do in life,” Bayne said.
“Sometimes you take for granted the passion that you have and the opportunity you have to do what you love as a career . . . it was definitely a time where I was able to say 'there's a reason I do this,'.”
Paul Destrooper, artistic director with Ballet Victoria, said Bayne's speedy recovery showed immense discipline and dedication to her craft.
“She's truly committed to the art form. It shows dancers are very smart and very resilient,” he said. “Although this was a complete freak accident, she took the time to focus and really heal her body and that creates a stronger dancer.”
Now Bayne is ready for a new challenge as the principal dancer in Ballet Victoria's annual Christmas performance of The Gift.
The ballet is a unique rendition of the perennial Christmas time favourite, the Nutcracker. Characters take centre stage in the troupe's original version that tells the story of a family celebration with Pandora, a mischievous child who can't resist opening a mysterious box her uncle left her under the Christmas tree. When she does, it unleashes a number of wild characters, including minions and Princess Elsa from Frozen.
The Victoria Symphony will perform pieces from Tchailkovsky's score.
The Gift will be on stage at the Royal Theatre for three matinee performances on Dec. 27, 28 and 29. Tickets start at $17 and are available at the Royal Theatre box office or by phone at 250-386-6121.