Junior Dances on Despite Setback from Hip Surgery

Eva Pate, Class of 2022

When a person is faced with hardship, the most common response is to surrender rather than fight. However, when junior Evelyn Berguson’s doctor told her that she would never be able to dance again, she refused to accept defeat.

Berguson’s last competition before her surgery. Her solo got platinum and 6th place overall.  (Courtesy of Showstopper Dance)

Berguson was only 16 when she was told she would need hip surgery if she wanted to avoid hip replacement in 10 years. She had first started suffering from severe hip and lower back pain when she was 12 years old. Unfortunately, it began to hinder her ability to dance.  Berguson found herself feeling abnormal pain and exhaustion after practice. Her hips were getting injured easily and she was commonly popping her hip in and out of the socket during dance. After consulting with her doctors, they told her that surgery was her best option. 

“My doctor told me that this surgery wouldn’t have any guarantee to fix my problems or that I’d be able to dance after, it was only to help with the pain,” Berguson said. Although the surgery had no guarantee to solve the problem it was still a crucial and necessary surgery in order for her to continue dancing and prevent pain in the future. 

After Berguson was told she’d need surgery, she worried over the probability of her ever going back to dancing. Her doctor didn’t want her to dance following the surgery, because it was likely her hip would begin to cause more problems and get even worse. However, that wasn’t an option for Berguson. 

“I’ve come this far, my parents aren’t letting me quit… it’s not like I want to quit either,” Berguson said.

 She has invested her life in dance; all of the hours spent in the studio, the tears and dedication she has put into dance, would all be for nothing if she chose to quit.  Berguson had been dancing since she was three and started dancing competitively when she was eight. She had invested so much into dancing that it had become her way of life. If she quit, all of the hours spent in the studio and the tears and dedication she had put into dance would have been for nothing, so nothing was going to stop her.  

Evelyn Berguson’s solo at Streetz (courtesy of Shutter Storm Media)

In order for Berguson to even have a chance at dancing long-term, she would need the surgery. However, the recovery process was bittersweet. The surgery left Berguson immobilized and she’d have to learn how to move all over again. She was unable to do everyday tasks on her own, her family became a huge part of her recovery process. 

“After the surgery, it became frustrating… I had to learn how to walk again… I wasn’t able to move my leg for such a long time,” she said. 

 It was difficult for her to move at all, any movement in her legs would cause her immense pain. Berguson’s leg had been operated on in the surgery; the surgeons ended up moving a nerve because it was necessary for the hip screw placement.  

Evelyn’s Leg after surgery, (courtesy of Evelyn Berguson)

Berguson attended physical therapy (PT) for two years. She needed to go before her surgery and after. It took her a few weeks of post-surgery PT before she was able to finally walk with crutches. 

“PT is extremely exhausting, they make me push myself so hard with weights and exercises,” she said.

Due to her immobility, she spent the whole summer in bed unable to continue the activities she loved. 

Berguson said, “It was difficult to see my friends hanging out and I wouldn’t be able to go [because] I was stuck at home.”  Once school started up in August she was able to see her friends, however, she still couldn’t hang out with them out of school due to her crutches. Additionally, she was constantly attending physical training before and after school. 

Whether it be because of luck or the strength of her desire to get back to what she loved, Berguson’s recovery ended up being a few months shorter than planned. Once she was cleared, she got right back to dancing. She joined a dance studio and began practicing multiple times a week. Due to her injury her hours needed to be shortened but she was still consistently practicing. 

“I was really happy to start dancing again [even though] it was really painful,” Berguson said.  “I was not [at the] same [level.]” 

Berguson was worried that she’d be unable to reach her previous level of dancing. She found herself facing new challenges after the surgery. Her back and hips were still bothering her even after the surgery and her flexibility had decreased. 

Berguson missed out on an entire summer’s worth of practice and was told to reduce her hours from 14 to seven a week. Additionally, following the surgery, the number of dance studios that she participated in was reduced from three to one.

Evelyn Berguson solo competition at JW Marriott San Antonio (courtesy of Dance Celebrity)

Six months after the surgery, Berguson has reached almost complete recovery; she no longer attends PT and continues to take other dance classes. She succinctly states that her “end goal is to … go pro [and] make a living [from] dancing.” She is a member of the DNA training dance team where she strives to improve her dancing abilities each and every day.