Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MORE Sugar Plums Please

I couldn't let today's news go by without a rant about dancers and the importance of body image. 

NYC Ballet Principal, Jenifer Ringer, made headlines today because of dance critic, Alastair Macauly's response to her "Sugar Plum(p)" appearance.  He wrote, "Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many;"  She was featured on the Today Show and for all of you who saw, she's at a healthy body weight.  Underweight in fact, when compared to the general population, as most dancers are. 

Dancers bodies are under constant scrutiny and many professionals suffer from eating disorders, especially in the ballet world.  Jenifer herself admitted to suffering from one when she first started at the NYC Ballet.  This is indeed great publicity for the ballet and empowering for non-dancer women everywhere.  My concern is that it's only going to make the eating disorders in the dance world more prevalent.  I hope I'm wrong, but I'm a dancer and I understand the mindset.  We stare at ourselves everyday in the mirror and strive for perfection in our movement, lines and body.  I myself have obsessed and cried over choreographers comments on my body, knowing that there is nothing wrong with it.  Unfortunately, when your body is your profession and you put it on stage and light it up, the world can be a brutal place.  I hope dancers everywhere are able to see past this terrible review and fully embrace their bodies for the beautiful machines that we've trained so hard to turn them into. 

Dancers, take a stand and eat another sugar plum!  Just be sure to wash it downs with some leafy green vegetables!  ;)  (I may be a dancer but I'm also still a health coach!) 

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