Career Development Plan - My Body Size in Ballet?

by Danielle
(Atlanta, Ga)

Career Development Plan - My Body Size in Ballet?

Hello I'm Danielle and I have been doing ballet my whole life. I'm 12,and I am conserned about my body image in ballet. My class is filled with stick thin girls that have the "perfect ballet body" and then there is me the big boned built 10 times bigger then them but half their age girl in the corner all self conscious. I know that I have the talent and grace that it takes to be a dancer but sometimes I get over looked. Some of my teacher don't even look at me because of what I look like in compatision to the others in my class. But my school director overlooks that and pays a lot of time with along with a few other teachers. They make me show company ions and go in the first group even if I'm in a class that has 15 year olds! The other teachers pretend like I'm not even in the same world as them! Why

I know I'm not fat it is just that I have a bigger bone and body structure then most. I get passed by a lot in audions for summer programs that have a reputation for only allowing skinny people like ABT or SAB but at other get in and get in with a level above my age. But sometimes it makes me feel really bad when my friends get in to a program that I didn't because of my look. This makes me wander what my ballet carrier will be like will anyone accept me into a company I have soo much passion for this art and it just sad to think of it plus I have been told by a former teacher to stop dancing because of my weight at my age witch my doctor says is fine for somebody with my bone mass but will I be able to forfill my dream for ballet?


Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - My Body Size in Ballet?

Hi Danielle,
Thanks for contacting me it is always a pleasure to hear from you. This is a tricky one to judge without seeing your body structure or dancing. However, I can certainly give you my opinion and some worthy advice that will definitely be a help to you coming from myself as a professional dancer.

I have been dancing for a lot of years and still, body image is something that leads to a lot of discussion in the world of ballet. What is the perfect body? How do you create that? When are you too thin or too big?

There are thousands of questions to ask when it comes to a ballet dancer’s body, but one thing you must know is dancers are just like athletes too. You have to be strong and athletic, whilst lean and toned which ballet training will no doubt sculpt your body to become. Yet many dancer’s do have a naturally bigger or smaller frame, which can be entirely out of their control.

With regards to your body, you are still extremely young at 12 years old. You have many years left to change, develop, and lengthen your body. All young dancers develop at different times, so whilst some of the girls may be very skinny now, they may not be in a few years’ time when their bodies have developed more.

I would really advise you not to give up ballet, even if you choose to have it as a hobby, you still have so much potential left to improve and progress over time. Whether you will be accepted into a company is a fragile matter even for top students at world class ballet schools. The competition is tough and it is hard to make a career out of ballet, even if you are the best in your class.

To give any dancer the best chance of being accepted into a ballet company, you not only need to have determination and hard work, but also training. Your training is absolutely fundamental to how you becoming sculpted into a professional dancer and this can be the deciding point to whether you make it in ballet or not.

Remember, every teacher or director who watches you dance will have a different opinion. Some may love you, some may not, but you have to believe in yourself until the last moment to give yourself the best chances too.

A ballet career is an elite and specific field that is not made out for everybody. Sooner or later, dancers lead their path to different directions but they always find their way.
Keep working hard. You are just at the beginning!

Don’t give up, but if dancing is not meant to be for you then you will realize it.

Best wishes,

Comments for Career Development Plan - My Body Size in Ballet?

Click here to add your own comments

You ARE doing great! Don't give up.
by: Anonymous

Based on your information, it seems that you are a very talented dancer with excellent training that puts you into the highest category.

To lie to you about your bone structure would be unfair and unkind to you. You are correct in your impression that top-of-the-line companies often overlook a very gifted dancer like you and instead choose a less-talented dancer that has the perfect body.

That, however, does not make the other person any better!!! Be proud of what you are capable of!

Second, talent like yours WILL overwrite the disadvantage of your body frame! It will be much harder, however. That is unfair, but no one said life was fair. You should by no means give up on ballet, since you are VERY good at it. When you get discouraged that it is so hard, read stories about successful dancers that overcame many obstacles to get where they are today. In the end it is as much about being mentally and emotionally strong then it is about skill! Lastly 3 things to consider:

1) yes - you are still young and your body could surprise you in a positive way,

2) if time and money allows, take acting/theater because you may be much more of principal material ultimately, than corps... and then acting will come in handy,

3) if at age 18/19 you still feel strongly that your bone structure is a detriment to ballet, consider switching to a more mixed company that does modern/contemporary & ballet - your great ballet training will make you top-of-the-line amongst the other dancers, and they don't care so much about bone structure!

Wishing you joy in your dancing and persistence!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Career Development Plan.