Career Development Plan - The Ballerina Build
Hello Odette, I'm a fourteen year old dancer in the U.S. I love ballet, and I've always wanted to be a professional ballerina, but I don't have the ideal body. I'm not fat, but I weigh a lot and I have a bigger body than most ballerinas. All my friends in dance are light, skinny, and have long legs and flat chests. I feel out of place in my ballet training, and I'm doubting that I'll ever make it as a dancer.
Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - The Ballerina Build
Thank you for your query, it is a pleasure to hear from you.
Body image always tends to be a sensitive subjects with all dancers as our body is our tool, so I understand you may get conscious of your body.
You must not let body image knock your confidence. Each one of us is individual and unique, we all come in different shapes and sizes, so do not let yourself get tied down about this 'ideal' body.
The ballerinas you see on stage look very slim and slender, but their bodies are incredibly strong and athletic. This ballerina build doesn't just come in a miracle, it has been achieved with years of intense training and committed practice.
Along with the physical ability and slender athletic body, it is absolutely crucial to be mentally prepared to succeed in ballet. It highly depends on your self-motivation to how you succeed in becoming a professional ballet dancer. The Seven Secrets, on the 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page, will give you the key answers of how to thrive in the ballet world.
I have known of so many of ballet dancers who have the slender body, yet they just do not have the technical, or mental, skills to succeed. So body image is not always everything.
We have to work with what we have got and my top advice is to always push your body to the maximum in all your ballet classes. By working the muscles in the correct way will sculpt and develop the body in an encouraging way. Always feel a great sense of length through your body and visualize a piece of string which is always pulling you upwards. With time, this will lengthen out your body.
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
"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
Always remember your passion for ballet.
All the best,
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