Lloyd Knight, principal dancer for the Martha Graham Company is back in the studio rehearsing once again after a long eight-month recovery from a torn Achilles tendon. He is sharing some tips with us as he spins around the cobblestone streets of NoHo for our second issue photo shoot with photographer Parker Ovalle. Originally from London, but grew up in Miami. Knight started dancing at the age of ten before stopping in high school. Against all convention Knight endured extra training in order to make his way into the New World School of The Arts where he was introduced to the Martha Graham technique. He is officially back in the studio but has a few words to share with our readers and his fans.
TiLLT: What have been some specific obstacles as a dancer and what have been specific achievements in overcoming those obstacles?
LK: I would say maybe journey of just trusting who I am as a dancer. I tend to overthink things sometimes and that can stop the energy flow. But the minute I take the time to learn the steps and go with it and trust what I know, it makes the whole thing come alive.
TiLLT: What was it like to find out you would become a principal dancer for the Martha Graham dance company?
LK: It was a total shock. Of course there are dreams of it happening one day but when Janet called me to her office to tell me I was completely taken back. I was overwhelmed and even crying.
TiLLT: Could you briefly explain what your injury was like? Name/diagnosis? And steps following your surgery on the road to recovery?
LK: Well I've had two major ones in my career so far... First a herniated disc in my lower back, that caused nerve pain down one leg. I worked a lot with Pilates and heal that one. And recently my Achilles tore; I had to have surgery and spent 12 weeks with a boot and crouches. It's been an extremely mind blowing experience relearning how to walk again, run, point my foot and do all the things needed to use my foot in the right way for what's required. I've dived back into Pilates which has been great for recovery and I've also picked up Gyrotonics.
TiLLT: What recommendations would you offer other movers to maintain longevity in their dance careers?
LK: I would say cross training is very important! As I have mentioned and discovered through Gyrotonics and Pilates. Sometimes dancers tend to use the same body parts and others do not receive enough focus, which can lead to injury.
TiLLT: What are a couple of tips you would be able to share with other dancers that have aided your recovery process?
LK: Stay focused is number one. Make sure you are taking care of yourself mentally, spiritually as well of course physically. Stay smart, and as excited as you might be, don't rush anything. Set little goals and go from there.
TiLlT: What has it been like taking a break from the stage? Pros and Cons.
LK: It has been a lot of good and bad. Good that I've taken the time to take care of my body in the correct way and thinking of other ways to make art or use other parts of my body. Seeing more of close family and friends and just simply having time to do exactly what I want to do, I could just wake up and decide. So taking a step back for a moment. The Cons is being someone who loves dance not being able to perform and but mostly just moving. Not being able to express myself through dance, which I have always used as my outlet. You go through superficial things of course like possible weight gain, missing tours but the biggest for me was just not being able to do what I absolutely love.
TiLLT: What has been a guilty pleasure during these months of recovery? Any Ben and Jerry/Netflix binge watching?
LK: Yes, a lot of documentaries, British ones, which are amazing. A lot on Henry VIII! And the first couple of weeks I was on Chinese take out overload!
TiLLT: Are you set to return to rehearsal in the near future?
LK: I have just completed my first two days back to rehearsal, which I am very pleased about!
TiLLT: I know many of your fans have been beyond supportive via social media, is there anything special you would like to say to them?
LK: I really want to thank everyone with all of my heart for the support! It means more than I can say! I used social media as a way to show my family what my steps to recovery were like. But I was shocked to receive messages from other people going through injuries as well as all of the love from everyone. It just pushed me even more to get better. Peace and love to everyone that contributes to my wellness and my dancing.
Back in the Studio
On the Road to Recovery with Lloyd Knight
By Megan Curet