At what point did you realize that you’re going to survive? And how did you hold on (to it)?
I became aware of everything that had happened several months after the end of my treatment. Initially I set up a goal: To go on tour in Japan. I then attacked my chemo, head down, without asking questions. I did not have the feeling of suffering over it or the side effects. That was not positive, but I tried to take things head on to reach my goal.
Then I had other goals: The return to work in September and the concours (POB internal competition to move up ranks) in December. I started immediately to get back on track and Brigitte Lefèvre, the director of dance got me well distributed in ballets to come. I wanted to be there, to be in shape.
In December, I wanted to finish the year in style at the concours, after training for six months, I wanted to pass this competition. But during the preparation, I started to have major problems physically. I had tendinitis everywhere, I was too tired, I had too much pain. So I arrived at the contest without really worked. I thought I’d be fit on the big day but in the end it did not actually happened like that… I left the stage after my contest, I went up to my dressing room, I took my phone and I called my mother to tell her that I will quit everything.
Up till the end of the concours I did not ask any questions and anyway, in my eyes, there was only one outcome: I was going out
And suddenly, on leaving the stage that day, I became aware of what I had been through up to this time and the severity of my cancer. I needed to take some time alone to think. During my illness, I did not take notice of the image that I sent to others. But looking at pictures of me being sick, I had the sudden realization that I really did not have a good head, especially at the end of my treatment when I lost 8 kg within five days.
I also needed to read the experiences of people who have gone through the same ordeal. I did not want to forget where I had gone to and how lucky I was to be here, to be able to get up every morning to go to my classes and to physically perform as a profession. This period lasted about four months. In April, I was able to resume dance.
How did you learn to manage your job in a battered body of a dancer?
I pay more attention to my body! I had the chance to meet a doctor who helped me that was in pieces to recuperate and gradually recovered after the concours’ period. I followed and I always take his advice to continue dancing while respecting my body because even though I have been declared “cured” some of my physical problems have lasted very long. I have been very well supported throughout my illness.
Today, I can say that there are more positive than negative consequences. It is not a strength, but it allows me to enjoy some of the simple things in life instead of passing it.
How did dancing help you to pass this ordeal?
Some people sometimes ask me if dance is a passion for me. But it is much more than a passion, it’s part of me. It’s like breathing, it’s a need. It is true that dancing helped me to set myself goals but if I continued to attend classes during my chemotherapy, it was not just to achieve and keep myself in shape. I wanted to continue living normally. And living normally for me was dancing.