Ballet Dancers - Body Shape in Ballet

by Tasharni

Ballet Dancers - Body Shape in Ballet

Hi my name is Tasharni Nienaber and I am currently in Year 12 in South Australia. As part of my year 12 I am studying Physical Education and relating this to dance- as I am a dancer myself. I was wondering if you could take some time to give your opinion to the statement of
“In order to be a good ballet dancer you must be a particular body shape- Anorexic – causing eating disorders etc.”
Note: This does not reflect my opinions- it is a statement for the purpose of this assignment

This would be greatly appreciated and any opinion or statement would be great help for my assignment.

Can you please state your credibility etc.

I look forward to hearing from you,
Tasharni Nienaber


Reply by Odette

To:- Ballet Dancers - Body Shape in Ballet

Hello Tasharni,

Thank you for contacting me, it is a pleasure to hear from you.

That is an interesting statement which brings up many thoughts. I don't necessarily believe that to be a good dancer is entirely reliant on your body shape, as there is so much more to this art form than body image. However, I think it is fair to say that there is an expected body shape in ballet dancers, yet this expected body does not mean being anorexic. A dancer's body may look thin and delicate, but their bodies are lean and athletic with toned musculature and incredible strength.

With the intense and hard training dancers do, their muscles will gradually sculpt into the right shape creating this athletic shape.

The pressure that some ballet dancers still face is to maintain this lean and trim shape, without developing any sort of eating disorder. There are few professional or training ballet dancers I know that suffer with an eating disorder, as in the end, anyone with an eating disorder will not have the strength to continue.

Here are some quotes by professional ballerinas about body:

"My body is my tool. In ballet, it's not about being slim and slender, you need to aim for muscle. " -Lauren Cuthbertson, Principal, The Royal Ballet

"You have to be your own icon." Laura Morera, Principal, The Royal Ballet

"I want young dancers to know that, yes, you have to make sacrifices, but at the end of the day we're not models - we need strength." Laura Morera, Principal, The Royal Ballet

Body shape in dancers is an interesting topic, I am always open to everyone's opinions, so if any other visitors would like to have a say then feel free to comment and join this discussion.

What is your opinion on this statement?

All the best,


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