'I was shaking': B.C. ballerina makes post-injury debut

A young ballerina unable to dance for months after a traumatic rollerblading accident has taken to the stage just in time for the holidays.

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Lucila Munaretto, a 21-year-old Argentine who moved to B.C. on a dance scholarship, spent hours watching choreography from the sidelines after an August accident that shattered several bones and left her in a medically-induced coma for nearly two weeks.

But when two of her colleagues got sick earlier this week, Munaretto -- who wasn’t cast in the holiday recital due to her recovery -- was offered a small walk-on part.

“I'm like, ‘Are you serious? Sure!’” Munaretto told CTV Vancouver.

The role was small and didn’t require any dramatic jumps or poses that could put the dancer’s recovery at risk.

“It's very minimal and there's not much dancing to it. And most dancers don't enjoy those kinds of roles,” said rehearsal director Katrina Bois.

But Munaretto says she was thrilled simply to be back on stage. She made her post-injury debut Saturday night at Burnaby’s Michael J. Fox Theatre, with her mother and sister watching from the audience.

“I was so happy to be back on the stage … I was shaking…it was like so much adrenaline and I couldn’t control it,” Munaretto said. “I wasn’t thinking about the accident. I was thinking, ‘This is one more chance to be happy.’”

Fellow ballerinas expressed support for their friend.

“It's amazing to see her come into class and come to the theatre with such a smile on her face after everything she's been through,” said dancer Alena Loboda.

“Knowing that she'll be on stage again with me is amazing – just like old times,” said Kaela Willey.

Munaretto’s instructors say they hope the small part opens the door to a fulfilling career.

“I hope that she can make it back, and move on to a professional career in dance,” says Bois. “Her spirit lights up the room … you can really see the love of dance that she has.”

With files from CTV Vancouver



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