Eating Disorders and Ballet - Anorexia Nervosa is Eating the Soul of Young Dancers

3494 Words 14 Pages
Eating Disorders and Ballet - Anorexia Nervosa is Eating the Soul of Young Dancers

The applauding audience, the lights, sequins and feathers, the colorful, elaborate tutus, and satin pointe shoes capture the hearts of young girls. Where else can a young girl dream of becoming a princess, a swan, a dancing snowflake or flower, or a sugarplum fairy? Where else can she be a fairy tale character like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty? Where else can she be rescued by her handsome prince and collapse into his arms? Ballet is the magical world where these dreams can come true. Young girls and women can be all of these things, symbolizing femininity in a culture that teaches young girls to be and want everything pink and pretty.
…show more content…
The pressure to be physically perfect is so severe in dance studios today that young women and girls often suffer from a disease, anorexia nervosa. This disorder also affects male dancers, other men, young girls and women, and even children as young as four years of age (Cohen). An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of females suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime (NIMH). However, anorexia is more severe and most recognized in the dance studio in the female dancers.

Anorexia is an emotional and physical illness in which a person refuses to eat. This can be a fatal disorder. The word anorexia means without appetite; nervosa means nervous. Hence, anorexia nervosa is best translated as a nervous loss of appetite. Anorexics are extremely hungry most of the time and extremely underweight, but they refuse to eat because of their fear of gaining weight (Anorexia Nervosa, Wuhl 483). This disorder often includes depression, irritability, withdrawal, and peculiar behaviors such as compulsive rituals, strange eating habits, and division of foods into "good/bad" and "safe/dangerous" categories (Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders Inc., Mitchell 11). Dieting may represent avoidance of, or ineffective attempts to cope with the demands of a new life stage such as adolescence (American Academy). For dancers, this eating disorder can be brought on if a dancer changes studios and needs to reestablish her place in the hierarchy. If a

More about Eating Disorders and Ballet - Anorexia Nervosa is Eating the Soul of Young Dancers

Open Document