Career Development Plan - The perfect ballerina body

by Anneke

Career Development Plan - The perfect ballerina body

I'm really enjoying my ballet and i really want to get better and improve my technique but the one thing that's holding me back is 'The perfect ballerina body' and one thing all ballerinas have is a flat chest and that is the one thing i don't have. I'm getting really worried because no one likes ballerinas with big chests. It throws them out of balance and I also get teased about having big breasts for my size and age. I'm pretty slim and i'm only 14! Is there any way I can succeed in ballet with big breasts?


Reply by Odette

To:- Career Development Plan - The perfect ballerina body

Hello Anneke,

Thank you for your coming to me, it is great to hear from you!

A ballerina's body is very subjective, we all have different opinions or conceptions to what is the 'perfect' body.

Obviously, the ballerinas you see on stage look very slim and slender but this has been achieved with years of intense training and committed practice. The 'perfect' ballerina body doesn't just come in a miracle, we all have to work for what we want.

I understand you may get self-conscious, but you mustn't let it knock your confidence. 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 this slender body, yet they just do not have the technical, or mental, skills to succeed. So body image is not always everything.

Be confident with who you are, and especially take no notice of people teasing you. 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 image.

We have to work with what we have got and I am sure if you increased your classes, or intensified some aerobic exercise, you would see your body adapt to a more athletic appearance. My top advice is always push your body to the maximum in all your ballet classes and feel a great sense of length through your body. Feel as though there is 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

Keep believing!

All the best,


Comments for Career Development Plan - The perfect ballerina body

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Eating plan
by: Cande

Hi odette!
i know that you dont believe that there it is a perfect ballerina body, yet we must all admit that it does exist an "expected" ballerina body.
So, although im am told i have a "right" shape i am not quite happy with it, meaning that i belive i may better it. And dont worry, i do not have eating disorder as bulimia or anoreccia or nothing like that; it is just that i would like to know that what do you recomend me to eat. i mean, which would be the perfect things to eat at breakfast, at tea time, at lunch, and at dinner. i donot know, i would like if you couldd tell me just some menues or quantites, just to have a guide to base myself on(:
Besiddes i have a question... the thing nutricionist tend to tell you about the fact of eating between meals even though you are not hungry, should i do so?
What would you do?, what and how do you eat to keep your figure?
I tahnk you in advance
lots of love

Career Development Plan - Eating Plan
by: Odette

Hello Cande,

Thank you for your comment, it is always a pleasure to hear from you.

I absolutely agree that there is an "expected" range within the ballerina shapes and sizes. No matter how hard we try to overcome this ballerina body image, there will always be an awareness on the body as ballet is a visual art form.

It is very encouraging to be told you have the "right" shape, so you should be happy with it! However, I understand the feeling to want more from your body and it is very valuable to become aware of nutrition as a dancer. I am so pleased you are becoming sensibly aware of a dancer's nutrition as it is very important. Dancers are like athletes so we have to fuel our bodies with food as it is our energy supply.

Each dancer is individual, therefore we all require different needs, but here is an example of I would eat when I was a young dancer on a typical day:

Breakfast - Porridge and milk with a handful of raisons

Snack - Apple, with a small handful of nuts and/or oatcakes.

Lunch - Jacket potato with tuna and lots of salad. Perhaps some melon afterwards.

Snack - Cereal bar and a satsuma.

Dinner - Pasta and chicken with lots of vegetables.

Snack - Natural yoghurt with some dried fruit.

Obviously there is a lot more options and alternatives that can be added to this plan, but I hope it can give you an indication to a sensible eating plan. Nutritionists often suggest to snack between meals as it keeps the metabolism steady. Eating little and often with snacks is very beneficial for dancers to keep our energy levels up.

I keep my figure by eating little often and making sure I get a balance of carbohydrate, protein and salad/fruit/vegetables. I make sure I supply my body with enough energy depending on how intense my day is, so when I have more rehearsals I will need to have extra snacks. Water is absolutely essential and I always make sure I drink at least 2 litres day. I also drink green tea which is said to be extremely good for you.

All the best,


Some other questions!
by: Cande

Dearest Odette, thank you! it was great hearing from you and it was great that you were able to provide with such information (:
i only have some question, when you say in the snack "Piece of fruit, Small handful of nuts" it means both things or the piece offruit or the small hanful of nuts? and then, how long do I have to wait between each time I eat something?concluding, which would be more a less the quantity of the lunch staff and the dinner staff?
Thank youuuuuuuuu
i do really appreciate you
lots of love,

Career Development Plan - The perfect ballerina body
by: Odette

Hello Cande,

Thank you for your reply, it is great to hear from you.

Yes, I mean both a piece of fruit and some nuts as it's important to get the balance of the different food groups.

You should try and learn to listen to your body and judge by how hungry you are to be a sign of when you should eat something. However, to give a brief example, if I was to have breakfast at 8am I would need a snack by around 10am, lunch around 1pm with another snack 4pm, and dinner at 6pm and another snack around 8pm. This is a general example of what works with my body, and with time you will learn what works for your body too.

Please remember, I am not a specialist nutritionist so all the advice I'm giving you is purely my own opinion. What I am saying may not always be right, but it works for me. If you want a more exact guidance on your eating plan, then a nutritionist would be able to help you fix up a plan particularity for you.

I find nutrition such an extensive subject that I am still forever learning the right ways! It would be great t keep in touch and keep me up to date with what more you learn about nutrition and what works for your body.

All the best,


by: Cande

Thank you odette! i just wanted to write to you so as to tell you that i would try this way of eating and after i while i will write you back so as to tell you how i am going. Yet, i would also go to a nutritionist so as to have another guide.
I am really happy to have you as one of my guides.
lots of love,

by: Future Prima Ballerina

I too am 14, and I too have the big boobs campared to the rest of my body...

I'm 5'3" and 97 lbs
22 in. waist
30 in. at widest point on my body (around my butt)
24 in. around rib cage right below my boobs
28 in. around bust :O
I am a B cup!


The first place to be affected by a diet is your boobs! DID YOU KNOW THAT??? So that's why I gonna loose atleast 10 pounds...

I think I might be too skinny.
by: Taylor

Hey Odette, so I'm 105 pounds and 5 foot 6. Im the skinniest one in my ballet class and everyone thinks I have an eating disorder or am on a diet. Except for my closest friends, they now that I eat a massive breakfast, four (or more) sandwiches for lunch, an after ballet snack (normally a few more sandwiches) and a good sized supper. Where is all this food going too? It doesn't seem like I can gain weight.

by: Orla

Don't worry about your chest being too big; as long as you can see past that and focus on your talent and technique!
Remember, ABT's wonderful Misty Copeland is quite big chested but she's such an amazing and successful dancer!
Be proud of your body- you are perfect the way you are...!

Reply to The Perfect Ballerina Body
by: Odette

Hey girls! You all have a great discussion going on, keep up the encouragment to each other. I absolutely love to hear from all of you.

Always remember the differences in physiques there are in the professional world of ballet. Some are tall, small, more muscular or slender.

For some inspiration, you can look at Maria Kotchetcova the principal ballerina at San Francisco Ballet. She stayed at the petite height of 5’, and was told she was too short.

Also, like Orla says, the wonderful Misty Copeland. She has pushed past the stereotypes of having to look a certain way in ballet.

You can also research Melissa Hough, Tamara Rojo and Marianela Nunez who have all talked about their body image at one point in their career.

Remember, each one of us is unique in our body so do not worry if you are not exactly like the other girls in your class.

Keep working hard and focus on yourself. Keep inspired by the great ballerinas though!

Best wishes,

Can't have a perfect ballet body
by: Anonymous

I am 5'3 100 lbs and have a dd ches and am very very active.. I will never no mater how hard I work out or try ever have the prefect ballet body. Your response makes me feel like if I work hard enough I can increase my height and reduce my chest. No way. Professional ballet will never accept me. On to a different dance form that appreciates different body types.

My body shape
by: Anonymous

Hi, I am 13 and live in India. The place where I live doesn't have proper ballet schools or classes, so I learn ballet from the Internet by videos. I want to become a professional ballet dancer in the future.but I'm worried about my body shape. I have a bit fat on my stomach, i have heavy thighs and chest. Please can you suggest a good diet,tips and exercises for the 'expected' ballerina body. Thank you.

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