Advice for Dancers

How Can I Boost My Body Image?

Susan Jaffe teaching at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Photo by Peter Mueller, Courtesy UNCSA.

Thanks to my nutritionist, I've started eating right. Now I desperately want to improve my negative body image. My friends tell me I look good, but I don't believe them. I obsess over every flaw and find class depressing. What should I do?

—Crappy Body Image, Hoboken, NJ


The best remedy is to shift your attention to what really matters: your dancing. Placement, musicality and technique will help you get a competitive edge, not body checking. Searching for imperfections in the mirror or comparing yourself to others will only reinforce a habit of negative self-appraisal. By focusing on factors that affect your performance, you'll have a much better class and your body image should improve. A cognitive-behavioral psychologist can also help. Check out The Renfrew Center's nationwide referral list for a specialist near you.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

Broadway
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Amber Star Merkens, Courtesy Mark Morris Dance Group

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Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

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