Humans are visual. When we see something beautiful, we gravitate towards it. Dancers’ bodies are beautiful and they do draw attention. This is a compliment as the hard work we put in at the studio is stamped on our physique. The issue with our bodies being noticed is that we can put too much attention on it and turn it into an ugly thing in our brain.
It is common knowledge that dancers are prone to eating disorders. It is easy to understand why. We spend hours everyday in front of huge mirrors. Sometimes these mirrors are distorted which plays their own games with our minds. Even without the distortion, if you stare at something long enough, you can see it differently. You can start to pick it apart.
Mirrors aside, there is the pressure to be perfect. Some companies hire you on at a certain weight. It is written into the contract. You are expected to maintain that weight as part of your contract. If you breach the weight clause you can be fined. This may seem harsh, but if you have multiple expensive costumes being provided to you by the hiring company based on your hired measurements, you can understand why this exists.
Look at what we wear when we are in the studio. It is usually not baggy pants and a shirt. No, it’s typically figure revealing clothes that allow for examination of proper alignment and use of muscle groups. It comes with the territory. When you want movement to look amazing, you want to know what it looks like fundamentally. You want to know what it looks like free of distracting fabric and costumes. This allows for the best use of coaching time in the studio because there is no skirt hiding an improper alignment. The trained observer will catch everything and that is what you want.
I do hear often from people that I must be able to eat whatever I want because I dance so much or that I must be blessed with my figure. Seriously? I know few dancers who haven’t earned their physiques, especially past their 20s. We do have to watch our calories in versus calories out to maintain a healthy weight. We also have to watch the quality not just quantity of our food as without proper nutrition, acute and chronic injuries will not resolve.