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Eating Disorders Within Dancers

The reason why dancers feel so obligated to look slim will be answered within the presentation.

Sarah Hann

on 12 December 2012

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Transcript of Eating Disorders Within Dancers

Anorexia and bulimia have a huge impact among the dancing industry. Dancers feel obligated to be thin due to the pressure from their coaches, from "skinnier" girls, and from the stereotypical image of a dancer from the spectators view. Eating Disorders Within the Dancing Industry Pressure, Pressure, Pressure! Everyone Says We Need to be Skinny Final Thoughts "Dance is a highly competitive, high-pressure and physically demanding profession". Dancers often feel like they are not good enough, and must work as hard as they can; which may result is weight loss. Coaches within this profession have confidence in their dancers, but would like them to meet the requirements in terms of physical appearance.
Due to the high demand to be thin some dancers take it too far. Anorexia and Bulimia may start to develop as dancers begin to feel more and more pressure. The dancers often do not realize the severity of their conditions. "Anorexia may result in organ failure and ultimately death. Bulimics can have heart attacks induced by severe electrolyte imbalance, which occurs when the minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium) in blood become dangerously low." Dancers should not feel obligated to develop dangerous eating habits, but the constant pressure sometimes pushes them to the last resort. " Dancers are at risk for the development of eating disorders. Ballet dancers are under pressure to maintain low body weight." Jealous Behavior Throughout a females adolescent years, they may start to notice stretch marks or notice unwanted stomach rolls. Within the media females are advertised as "perfect" (long neck, tall, skinny). The media's view of a "perfect" body is very similar to the studio's view. Within the dance studio, most of the girls are extremely skinny but some of the girls may be bigger. Due to this overwhelming image of the "perfect" body, girls are pushed to develop an eating disorder.
" A ballerina has many pressures on her but the pressure to be thin comes before all others. The pressures of media are the first pressures that a young girl will notice when developing into a young woman. She will be looking through a catalogue looking for new clothes and see that all of the models have beautiful, little figures. She will see pretty girls with no acne or noticeable birth marks. She will get the impression that the pictures are how people should look when they become older. As a young dancer gets older she will see pictures of the best dancers in the world. They are characterized with narrow hips, little or no fat deposits, slim middle, small breasts, delicate looking arms and their height is short. A young dancer who views this feels that unless she shares these characteristics she will never be the girl in the picture. The media pressure girls to be perfect. They do not display people who are anything but the ideal and this can have a lasting effect on young girls." Dancer's often feel extremely self conscious. Their thoughts are generated from how much pressure they are under from the coaches, other females that are skinny, and from the society in which they live in that put the dancers in a "skinny" category.
"Anyone who has ever attended a ballet performance or decided to study ballet themselves will soon notice something, all professional ballerina's are slim in physique. Not only are professional ballet dancers slim, it is required of them if they want to keep their dancing contracts.
Ballerina's are under pressure to maintain an image of physical perfection and that includes body weight. Dancers who want to be considered for roles in the most prestigious dance theaters must pass certain standards of appearance. That is why you don't see overweight, bow-legged, or out-of-proportion professional ballerina's."
Ballet dancers go through so much throughout their career. They start their career as young children, and continue on until they are adults; which means years of insecurities. "People who participate in sports that emphasize thinness or muscularity, such as ballet and body-building, may have greater than normal body unease and inappropriate eating attitudes and behaviors." "Most ballerinas are at least five four, and usually no taller than five eight. Their weight should be below 120 or they can't be easily lifted by a partner. Usually ballerinas weight anywhere from 90 to 120, with 105-110 being the average I think. Also, a ballerina would probably wear a size zero to size six pant, so their hips would be anywhere from thirty three inches to thirty seven inches. I guess the stereotypical ballerina would be about five-five, weigh 100 pounds, and have thirty-three inch hips."
Society has strong opinions on everything. In the dancing industry the dancers are stereotypically known to be tall and pencil thin. The dancers may feel bad about themselves or uncomfortable with their bodies when the public expects them to be something they're not. With all the negativity towards "bigger" dancers, they may develop an eating disorder. "Many people believe the myth that female dancers must be skeletal because of the male dancers who have to partner and lift them."
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