Ballet is essentially some romantic performance art that originated from Italy in the 15th century. Accordingly, ballet has been subjected to great transitions thereby gaining a lot of recognition by the lovers of arts and music from different parts of the world. Ballet is usually characterized by the presence of cheering audiences, elaborate costumes, beauty, weightless movements and beautiful lights. The ballerinas, on the other hand, are empowered to utilize the magical aspect of the stage to take the audience into the world of fantasy by being whoever they choose to become (Druss & Silverman, 2012). In that regard, a majority of children and more so girls have been working so hard to become part of ballerinas that and win the recognition of the members of the public. However, becoming professional ballerinas is not as easy as it may seemingly sound. There are various accomplishments and social aspects of life that go hand in hand with the professional path. Despite being a field with glitz and glamor that can drive the audience wild, the world of ballerinas has a different story behind the curtain. More specifically, there are a lot of pressure and commitments that the young dancers have to go through to reach the required level of competitiveness. A combination of social pressure, the issue of body image, competition and weight demands are all difficult problems that these dancers have to meet to access the pathway of developing into professional dancers (Druss & Silverman, 2012).
The body is the core focus of the ballerinas’ dancers. Just the way the musicians are usually required to have musical instruments, the ballerinas have a crucial role to play in shaping their body images to meet their professional needs. Bearing in mind that the body is the only component that the dancers can use to create an atmosphere of art and entertainment means that there is a constant focus on working to achieve a specific level of body shapes. Accordingly, it is this constant pressure that the ballerinas can develop the sense of negative body image. For the records, the body image can be described as the manner in which people see themselves in the mirror on a daily basis (Bettle et al., 2011). Hence, other than making people perceive them in particular ways, it also demonstrates how judgments, ideas, and values are conclusively attached to how they appear. Their slenderness usually characterizes the universally acceptable body appearance of the ballerinas. Apparently, achieving the body shape can prove involving to the extent of even requiring the dancers to work on cutting down their weights and ensuring that they are maintained accordingly. Unfortunately, there are groups of dancers who may become obsessed with their body shapes thereby even losing more weight than normal. On the contrary, adhering to the strict dietary schedule is a significant aspect that is the foundational platform for developing the body into nearly perfect (Ravaldi et al., 2013).
Anorexia and Bulimia are obvious examples of health disorders that are associated with a majority of ballerina dancers. Consequently, anorexia is a health condition in which emaciated dancers continue to skip on some diets and engage in extreme exercise activities to the extent of the body being feeble. Bulimia, on the other hand, is an eating complication in which an individual takes laxatives but does not experience any significant weight loss. Accordingly, a combination of these two disorders can mount into serious health complications that are characterized by depression and other kinds of psychological disorders (Bettle et al., 2011). The ballerinas have the responsibility of ensuring that their bodies are in good shape to perform various dance movements. Unfortunately, the level of physical stress that their bodies go through contributes to a relatively large portion of the destruction that affects their professional development in due course. Apart from that, engaging in extreme exercise activities are the primary causes of bruises, muscle stretch and even abrasions that are bad news to the dancers. The fact that the dancers have to be physically fit to succeed in the dancing means that they are compelled to quit dancing for quite some time in the course of developing body injuries. Depending on the body of the dancers, there are others who heal fast in contrast to others who may take relatively long durations out of the dance floor. Contrary to that, there are groups of dancers who may choose to continue with their dancing even though they could be suffering from injuries. In the long run, such dancers are likely to make their injuries extreme thereby affecting their professional lives (Druss & Silverman, 2012).
It is imperatively devastating that young ballerinas have to restrict themselves to unhealthy dietary schedules that can have adverse effects on their health. Perhaps, it is unquestionably understandable that one has to be determined and passionate to become a successful dancer. However, there is no sense of subjecting the body to extreme conditions to achieve specific shapes. Instead, participating in the dance with a mindset of developing an environment for sheer enjoyment and entertainment should be the primary priority (Ravaldi et al., 2013). The dancers should be made to understand that they should not be necessarily thin to achieve the maximum aspect of their professional levels. Accordingly, they should work to ensure that as long as they are required to work hard in their exercise activities, they should work hand in hand with their healthcare advisors to make sure that their professional activities do not trigger adverse effects in their lives. In retrospect to that, the society should develop the essence of appreciating the role of the ballerinas in our contemporary societies and consequently support them into living healthy lives. For example, the concerned stakeholders should push for reforms to foresee the employment of psychological professionals in the dance groups. Consequently, it is imperatively crucial that we go back to the drawing board and look into the enjoyment that different groups of dancers bring into our lives. It is by so doing that we will be able to find the right platform for developing reasons to utilize in supplementing them with support (Bettle et al., 2011).
In conclusion, the above discussion provides an overview of some of the perceptions about body image and eating disorders amongst the young ballerinas (Ravaldi et al., 2013). Furthermore, it is through this discussion that we are empowered to understand the other side of the lives of the dancers. More specifically, the magic that the young ballerinas bring into the stage during their performances is primarily cultivated from hard work, determination, and sacrifice that can even have adverse effects on their professional developments. The discussion also empowers us to understand the significance of educating the dancers to ensure that they understand the implications of their decisions and actions in the due course of their professional growth solemnly. Accordingly, it is important that we eliminate the perceptions that only the thin bodies are the ones that should be encouraged amongst the dancers. Instead, it is crucial that focus is redirected at developing a society where despite the body shapes that we have, we can be encouraged to take part in activities that we desire (Bettle et al., 2011).
- Bettle, N., Bettle, O., Neumärker, U., & Neumärker, K. J. (2011). Body image and self-esteem in adolescent ballet dancers. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 93(1), 297-309.
- Druss, R. G., & Silverman, J. A. (2012). Body image and perfectionism of ballerinas: Comparison and contrast with anorexia nervosa. General Hospital Psychiatry, 1(2), 115-121.
- Ravaldi, C., Vannacci, A., Zucchi, T., Mannucci, E., Cabras, P. L., Boldrini, M., … & Ricca, V. (2013). Eating disorders and body image disturbances among ballet dancers, gymnasium users and body builders.Psychopathology, 36(5), 247-254.