Unfortunately, during his senior year in college, a few bumps on Boyd’s back turned into a second surgery. The rods in his back somehow became infected. He missed another six months of school and dance, including his senior showcase.
“It’s pros and cons to everything. As of right now, I have [problems] in my lower back,” Boyd says. “Dancing with Ailey II where we’re on a rigorous schedule and we’re always dancing, sometimes it gets sore and it gets really hard and stiff. That’s when I actually have to rest and I need to chill out.”
Fraser didn’t choose surgery in high school. Instead, she used a back brace and the help of a chiropractor to adjust and lengthen her spine. “I asked myself, why me?” she says. “I wore a back brace all through high school, which was also tough, because in high school you’re growing into your body. You’re trying to make new friends. You’re trying to fit in. And here I am, wearing a plastic brace.”
Recently, Fraser experienced her first back spasm; a symptom of scoliosis.
“I woke up at 4 a.m. with shooting pains on the right side of my back,” Fraser says. Turns out, one of her ribs were dislocated. She’s unsure if that happened because of intense full-day rehearsals or something else. “So I really, at that point, had to just surrender and be safe and be smart on how I approached the rehearsal.”
Fraser and Boyd never gave up on their dreams despite their battle with scoliosis, and it’s paying off. Fraser is preparing for a season at Chicago’s Harris Theatre in April with Visceral. Meanwhile, Boyd will make his New York debut with Ailey II on March 30.
“I’m fortunate to have a career as a dancer and to see from that day I was told I needed surgery to see me dancing now and doing things that my body shouldn’t even be able to do,” Fraser says. “There are a lot of dancers who have it who have phenomenal successful careers. I found healing through talking about it.”
View BlackDoctor.org’s exclusive interview with Paige Fraser below!