Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bell Curves (And Belle Curves! Belle Straights, too!)

Last Saturday, the dance studio where I take my folklorico classes was having a dance recital as part of the general grand opening celebrations.  The show started at 7 pm; our call time was 5 pm.  The two other folklorico ladies and I spent most of the time in studio 3, putting on makeup, walking through the choreography, hydrating, etc.  Meanwhile, all the ballet dancers were doing a dress rehearsal in the stage space.  I ran into a bunch of them in the hallway, and the sight actually threw me for a loop.

They were all so thin.  Their heights varied from tall to short, but all were thin.  I had to comment on this to my folklorico ladies, simply because I don't see ballet dancers very often.  I suppose I should say "slender" rather than "thin", since "thin" can have a negative context.  I did not make any assumptions that they were anorexic, or unhealthy, since some people are naturally very lithe, and those people can be drawn towards ballet since their physique is desirable for the dance form.

I'll call the other two ladies Athena and Demeter.  They're both older than me and both Latina.  Demeter is the eldest, she does a lot of yoga, and is slimmer and finer-boned than I.  Athena is definitely the heaviest--probably about a size 14, 16 or so.  I don't know whether she does any exercise outside of dance class.

Anyway, at class last night, Athena was complaining about being fat, saying that she felt like the fattest dancer in the school, and how she needed to diet and lose weight.  I am simply not someone who will automatically reply, "Oh, you're not fat", because I don't want to flat-out negate her perspective or deny reality.  So, for better or for worse, I replied, "You know, Athena, logic dictates that someone has to be the heaviest person in the group.  You are the shape that you are.  What I think is important is that you're here dancing, 'cause it's fabulous dancing with you."

There are extremes in everything.  No matter where you go, someone is going to be the tallest, the shortest, the thinnest, the fattest, the most loud, the most proficient.  There are small people who are terrible dancers, and large people who are fantastic dancers.  It's not about defining that curves, or lack thereof, are better.  Just be yourself, do what you enjoy, and share that happiness with the world.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be honest, it's been really interesting working here at the ballet and watching the dancers. Realistically, the possibility of a professional ballet dancer being anorexic is practically non-existent. Yes, they are slender, and watch their weight, but they are strong, muscle-bound, and basically working out for 5+ hours a day. Admittedly, they are regimented in their diet, because they recognize that their bodies need specific food to perform at that level. Is anorexia a probably for younger dancers who don't understand biology yet? I'm sure it is. But professional dancers recognize that their bodies are a strange combination of light, yet muscular, and fragile, but strong, and they treat them appropriately.

    Such a strange soapbox for your sister to be on, no? :) Loved the folklorico pictures you shared!