Ballet Dancers - Right Weight For Ballet
Hello Odette, I'm new to this site and ballet even though I'm 13. I'd like to know what is the best weight to dance ballet-for partnering/pas de deux? I've been getting different views from different people about my weight. So I wish you'd help me because some people said I ought to lose weight while others said the opposite. My mom said that I have negative thoughts and my weight is fine but I don't think so.
I really need help and I trust you for facts and opinions after exploring this site. I really need guidelines as a new ballet student.
Reply by Odette
Ballet Costumes - Nutcracker
Thank you for contacting me. I am glad to hear I have your trust, as I really do care about every single young dancer who seeks my guidance.
As a new ballet student, it is crucial to follow my Seven Secrets, on the 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page. They will make a positively big difference to your whole approach to ballet, so treasure this valuable guidance and grasp these secrets.
Every single dancer's body is very different due to height, muscle mass, genes and many other factors so it is difficult to give you the best weight. However, there is something called the BMI calculator which is a good way to check if you are a healthy weight. BMI stands for Body Mass Index and, although dancers are usually on the lighter scale of the BMI due to the high intensity of exercise, it is still a good guidance to check you are a healthy weight for your height.
I completely understand the confusion with weight and image, as everybody tells you different things so this results to very mixed views you have on yourself. Even as a student, I also became unsure what the right weight was for me and how my body should look, as there is a limit to looking too thin or the opposite of needing to tone up. So what I concluded to was that I needed to learn to be comfortable with how I looked. It was me who needed to be confident within myself so I could get rid of the anxiety and accept my body. And this is what you can do too. Find a realistic, healthy weight that you can be confident with and accept without any anxiety.
Body image seems to be a never-ending issue which, as the natural ways of dancers, we are never satisfied and strive for perfection. But it is accepting your body and having a realistic weight to be maintained which is important. I kept track of my weight to make sure I maintained a healthy weight and knew that if I needed to loose or put on any weight I would take action to do so.
Always remember, never feel as though you need to loose weight to become a better dancer. If you are going to loose weight then do it for you and ask yourself if you really want to. Do not do it for anyone else but yourself.
Every person, even non-dancers, get bothered about their body, but any of these negative thoughts do nothing but bring your self-esteem down even further. Body image as a dancer is a very conscious element, but dancers have to remember they are also athletes. You have to be strong and lean with a considerable amount of energy. So as a dancer, having the right amount of ‘fuel’ is essential to perform at your best.
It is always advisable to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of nutritious foods. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, whole grains and lean proteins. Drink plenty of water too, 2 litres a day is the recommended amount. Green tea is very good for you too.
Who is your favourite ballerina? Think about why you love them? - is it their body.... or the way they dance? The emphasis is not always just on body image.
Listen to these great quotes by successful ballerinas to inspire you:
"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
All the best,
ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page
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