Even if you've never been a dancer, we bet you can understand the athleticism that goes into dancing professionally. There's a lot of training behind those beautiful and powerful moves. A lot of training, and a lot of pain.
Michelle Fleet and Robert Kleindorst have been dancing for 15 and 19 years for Paul Taylor respectively. They love dance and the company because it allows them to be themselves, to be expressive and to have a range of emotions, they both said in the video.
While all dancers are athletic, Fleet said that Paul Taylor dancers are specifically known for their muscular legs and backs. But it's his back that bothers Kleindorst the most.
"The part of my body that takes the most beating is probably my back," he said in the video. "There's a lot of twisting in Paul's work, a lot of lifting in Paul's work."
Instead of lifting weights at the gym, Kleindorst will lift the women in his dance company, because that's what he's training to do anyway.
Images of both dancers on stage show just how muscular they need to be to dance. In one scene, a woman jumps into Kleindorst's arms, but it's clear that his character wasn't expecting it. So instead of lifting her with his knees (the way many of us are warned to do to avoid back injury), he has to catch her weight with his body and hold her with his arms straight out. We can see how moves like that can put a strain on his back.
And when a dancer does get injured, they often dance through the pain. Kleindorst has been dancing for eight years on a partially-torn ACL, he said. It means that he has to be careful about how he moves and plan his steps ahead.
"I have to think 'okay how am I going to get into this? And how am I going to get out of it?'" he said.
Fleet added that taking care of yourself as a dancer isn't just about what you do on stage, it's about what you do after work as well. She's a fan of acupuncture, massage, icing, and compression. "It's a miracle," she said.
We were impressed by these amazing and talented dancers even before we knew what a beating their bodies take, but now we're in complete awe. Who else has complained about a muscle cramp just walking up the stairs? Yet, these people are literally dancing through their cramps, muscle tears, broken toenails, and even more painful injuries.
If that's not enough to convince you of how awesome these people are, listen to Kleindorst's mantra.
"You are a machine. You are not tired. You will keep jumping."