Op-Ed: Please Stop Weighing Dancers

On what began as an ordinary day in early fall, I and the other dancers in my pre-professional ballet program were told that we were going to be measured by the costume shop in anticipation of our upcoming Nutcracker performances with the company. We were lined up in a hallway that led to the open […]

Op-Ed: Let’s Stop Talking About Racism and Fat Phobia as Separate Issues

We know ballet has problems. We’re constantly hearing stories of racism endured, of gender discrimination exposed, of body shaming repudiated. But as any ballet teacher might tell you in class, perhaps we need to focus on the linking steps—the connections between these stories. Because ballet’s problems are systemic, not just individual. In particular, I think […]

Are Dancers at Greater Risk of Disordered Eating During the Shutdown?

As we spend more time at home and less in the studio, many aspects of our routine simply aren’t up to us. In the midst of COVID-19–related shutdowns, some dancers may be struggling with their relationship to food, whether they’re feeling guilty about stress eating or are developing dangerous disordered eating behaviors, such as restricting […]

What It Takes to Return to Dance After Recovering from an Eating Disorder

After spending a year away from the studio to recover from anorexia at age 12, Jillian Verzwyvelt admits that she was extremely nervous to return to class. “I was terrified I would be far behind not only technically but socially,” she says. Fortunately, she encountered strong support from both teachers and peers, who treated her […]

The Gray Area That's Not Quite an Eating Disorder, But Is Common Among Dancers

When the cat food started smelling good, I knew I had a problem. I’d always considered eating disorders to be extreme. Someone who never eats. Someone who weighs less than 100 pounds. Someone who gets hospitalized. My behavior didn’t fit the mental health definition of an eating disorder. I ignored it because I didn’t know […]

My Eating Disorder Is Hurting My Friendship

My best friend confessed that she’s been avoiding me because of my eating disorder. She’s scared of triggering her own eating issues that she’s coming to grips with in psychotherapy. I feel horrible about getting so caught up in my problems that I didn’t see what it was doing to her. While I’m glad we […]

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