Ballet star Natalia Makarova continued to be listed in "good condition" in George Washington University Hospital yesterday after she was injured by a falling piece of scenery Saturday night while performing in "On Your Toes" at the Kennedy Center.
A spokesman said yesterday that it would probably take months for Makarova to be able to dance again, depending on how she responds to physical therapy and attempts to regain motion in the shoulder.
Dr. Max H. Cohen, clinical assistant professor of surgery at GWU Medical Center and Attending Surgeon at the Washington Hospital Center, declined comment on the case but indicated that Makarova's progress was sufficient to justify a midweek discharge from the hospital.
Makarova and her husband, San Francisco industrialist Edward Karkar, could not be reached for comment yesterday. "They really want their privacy," a hospital spokesman said.
Staff members at the Kennedy Center, meanwhile, continued to investigate the incident in which Makarova's shoulder was broken and her scalp lacerated. Makarova had just played a brief scene in front of a canvas piece of scenery, referred to as a drop, into the bottom of which were battened two heavy metal pipes to weight it down.
The drop ripped while it was being raised and the pipes--48 and 21 feet in length--fell and struck the ballerina, Kennedy Center officers said Sunday. Yesterday Zack Brown, who designed the costumes and scenery for the production, said the drop snagged while it was being raised.
"It caught on something and ripped and the pipe pocket ripped," Brown said. Asked what it caught on, Brown said, "It might have been a lighting instrument . . . No one's responsible. It's just an accident." Brown's work on the scenery was artistic, not mechanical.
By coincidence, the program notes for "On Your Toes" also contain a brief essay titled "Mishaps on Stage." The essay mentions several famous mishaps--for example, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre burning after a cannon fired during a performance of "Henry VIII" ignited the thatched roof -- and comments that, "a life on the boards -- as actor, dancer or singer -- is a dangerous business, indeed."