A 45-degree curve then another curve at 55 degrees, sounds like a windy road, but those numbers are the details of the curvature that was in Tori Fisher's spine.
After spinal reconstruction, this local teen dancer at Judy Russell's Enchainement Dance Centre, is making a comeback during this year's Prince George Dance Festival at Vanier Hall this week.
Born with scoliosis, Fisher's spine started to curve at around 13. Fisher began ballet at three years old and started dancing competitively at 10.
"At 15 it got really, really bad and I think the curve at that time was 45 degrees at the top and the bottom one was at 55 degrees and that's when it was decided I needed surgery," Fisher said. "I had to wait until I was 17 to get the surgery."
The procedure was done at B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver.
"I have two medal rods, one on either side of my spine," said Fisher. "There are 15 screws on each side. I had to basically relearn how to do everything, including sitting up and walking. At first I could only stay awake for an hour at a time at the most. It was upsetting but it was also really good because I wasn't in pain anymore. I grew two inches afterwards. They said I would be fully healed in a year but I started taking dance classes three months afterwards, which I wasn't really supposed to do but I just had to."
She's been dancing in earnest since September.
"At first it was really, really frustrating because everything was different and my back wasn't very strong but it's all getting better," Fisher explained, who will continue with annual check ups with doctors down in Vancouver. "I took last year off from competing and just started back this year."
Once Fisher had the go ahead it was still a bit scary, she said.
"At first I didn't want to get dropped or fall the wrong way and mess everything up again, but it's all good now," said Fisher, who has been fully healed since December. "I finally feel like I can get back on track now."
She just placed first in the variety solo competition earlier this week during dance festival and placed second in hip hop as well.
She went to the Quesnel dance festival as a test run for the P.G. festival and she felt strong there.
"I'm so excited about the Prince George Festival," said Fisher, who will perform five solos, one duo and 11 group numbers.
During the week-long local festival that ends Saturday, dance categories include highland, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, tap, musical theatre, song and dance and world cultures, performed at Vanier Hall from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. There are 486 dancers participating, ranging mostly from five to 18 years, with some adults performing as well, from studios throughout northern B.C. There will be 1,185 different dances performed during the festival, with about $22,000 in scholarship funding available for the dancers who can then go on to provincial competition.
Dance festival results will be in Monday's Citizen.