My injured hip wasn’t my “fault.”

Blame was an aspect that I struggled with a lot at first and the “what-if” thoughts ran rampant.
“What if I had gone to the doctor earlier,”
“What if my dance technique was cleaner,”
“If only I were thinner, this never would have happened,”
“If I had only trained harder and more precisely, I could have avoided this.”

Hard stuff.
These are the thoughts and musings of a woman at 2 am looking for answers to how things went awry.

But the truth is, I couldn’t have prevented anything. Unfortunately, the world of ballet and dance takes on a traditionalist and hierarchical mentality that we must ignore all pain or wear it like a badge of honour. Elite dancing requires such extreme athleticism and comes with inherent dangers and injuries. Our genetic predispositions are both the privilege that makes us great dancers and the reason that our bodies sometimes break down.

After my last performance, I settled into a routine of doctor’s visits and hip injury/surgery research to fill the time. Thirteen conversations with thirteen doctors finally led me to a hip arthroscopy in Munich. Twelve of thirteen had said a hip replacement was my only sure solution for the pain. But, I held out for the arthroscopy with the hope that I could dance just a little bit longer.

Even though hip arthroscopy is considered a minimally invasive “keyhole” surgery, it is still major surgery. No surgery is pleasant. During the surgery and hospital stay, I was alone in Munich while Christian and the rest of the dance company performed in Biarritz, France. I only have slivers of memory, listening to music and meditating through my medicated fog in the hospital. My side-effect of general anesthesia is fainting when I try to sit up or stand in the first 48 hours. You can imagine how emotionally intense that situation is, alone in the hospital with basic German language skills, not knowing how to say, “I’m fainting” (btw its: ich werde ohnmächtig.)

A few days into the hospital stay, Christian flew back from the tour to Munich, and our dear friends Katja and Daniel drove us back to Nuremberg. In the hospital, you always feel sick. Being at home speeds up the healing process.

The protocols after a hip arthroscopy require very minimal weight-bearing, which makes it annoying and arduous to get around. The doctor cleaned out as much damaged cartilage as he could find and repaired the torn labrum as best he could. He did warn that a total replacement was inevitable, and we would see each other again soon. (spoiler alert, he was correct)
The surgeon wasn’t convinced that I would dance professionally again. But, any chance was a good chance, and I was willing to work for it.

I knew I would get depressed if I sat in our tiny apartment through the weeks of waiting to heal, so I enrolled in another German language course. The teacher probably thought I was insane as I limped into the first day of class with crutches. I hadn’t even had the stitches out yet and had to use charades and limited german to explain my situation. Anyone who learns German as a second language knows that it takes enormous brain space. It was a perfect way to stay busy, even if it was a bit bonkers.

Physical therapy was always interesting, even when I saw minimal progress because I love movement and learning about the body. I rehabbed like it was my full-time job. Besides learning German, it was. Often athletes don’t need extra motivation to rehab, but instead, they must be told to chill out and rest. Keeping the rest and work balanced taught me a lot about my need to “achieve” and tendencies towards perfectionism.

Almost a year after my last performance, I took my first ballet class as part of the “wiedereingliederung.” This reintegration is a step-by-step process where the employee starts back to work on a minimum basis. The first week is only an hour or two, and as the weeks progress, the workday becomes longer as you integrate back into ballet work life.

That first ballet class back was a dichotomy of balsam for my soul and a slap in the face.

On one side, being back in the studio is like finally coming home after a long, arduous trip. Even the unique smell/stench of the studio I had missed. When the pianist played the first chords for “plies” at the barre, I had tears in my eyes. It was so overwhelmingly good to be back.

But as the class progressed, my outlook changed. I had missed so much time, and the people were different. I could see their hardened faces, the shocking thinness, the look of pain and stress on people’s faces. It was not that they had changed, but my perspective had changed. My body was different. Building up and fine-tuning all those muscles would take time.

What if I spent the time to get back to full-time dancing, but I were to injure my hip again? The hard work that lay ahead didn’t scare me, but the thought that maybe it wasn’t worth it to me anymore was terrifying. At tops, my surgeon had said I would have a year or two dancing at that professional intensity.

After class, I remember leaving the theater and sitting on the sunny bench right outside thinking, well fuck.

What if the thing I spent my life working for isn’t the thing I need or want anymore.


I made it through 10 days of the “weidereingliederung” before I asked to meet with Goyo Montero, the choreographer, and artistic director. The discussion was tough for me. I was nervous about reinjuring myself after finally getting to a point where I was pain-free, and I could no longer imagine myself pushing through pain. I was also concerned that if I reinjured myself, I would be putting the other dancers in a situation where they needed to increase their workload to cover my spots. Together with my doctor, we decided to end my theater contract for health reasons.

"Heil" Art Exhibition by Eva Brenner, Choreography by Hannah Teutscher, Photography Nadine Rodler

So now what.

Taking daring (but calculated) leaps of faith has always been my motto.
I threw myself into a business class with my newly formed language skills and redid part of my pilates certification, as I had never taught in German. Percolating in my brain was always the thought of owning a studio. I had been planning and researching studio and gym structures for years. Teaching and coaching have been the foundation of my movement career since I was 15 years old. Through all the years of dance, I was lucky enough to teach workshops and classes throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.

Although there wasn’t much, I invested all the money I had saved into my venture. (Side note, this was NOT what the business coach advised. They were emphatically against my idea. But, anyone who has spent a bit of time around me knows that saying “No, this will never work” ignites a fire in me.)

In the same year that I officially ended professional dance, Christian and I married in a small gathering with our family and closest friends. Christian is my biggest advocate and cheerleader. I’m so lucky to have him on this journey. The week after our honeymoon hiking in the Swiss Alps, I signed the rent contract for the studio.

Serendipitously I had found an affordable room that just felt “right” and was close to our apartment and the theater about a week before our wedding.

Performance Fit Pilates was born.

Although I didn’t make it back onto the big stage, I had what I would consider a full recovery. I had full mobility and remained very physically active.
I choreographed and danced in a few smaller projects over the last few years. My passion for teaching and exploring movement has only grown.
I feel lucky to have had two careers that I’m passionate about.

I remained pain-free until the end of 2019. X-rays revealed no surprises, and it was finally time for a hip replacement. My pilates practice is what probably prolonged the replacement for so long. I scheduled the surgery for April 12, 2020.


No one could have predicted 2020.

Obviously, the surgery was postponed. And then I waited. and waited. Our “to-do” list was just too full to take time for surgery and recovery. We were working on our business survival seven days a week for months at a time. The dancers’ adage “The show must go on” is deeply ingrained in Christian and me.

In December of 2021, I committed to anterior hip replacement surgery.
Although I’m currently still in the early weeks of recovery, I’m sure this was a good decision.

Part 3 of the epic tale of ballet hips will come a bit further along my recovery journey. For now, I’m back to exercising patience.

Healing comes in the quiet tones and soft whispers of time.

Photographer: Mia Vilflor Dancers: Christian and Hannah Teutscher

“Heil” Art Exhibition by Eva Brenner, Choreography by Hannah Teutscher, Photography Nadine Rodler