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Body Image in Ballet

Recently journalist Deirdre Kelly of DANCE Magazine asked me for a choreographer's perspective on ballet's body image issues. She only needed a short quote, but once I started writing I couldn't stop. For many of us (both male and female) who grew up in ballet, this is a big, messy topic that takes time to untangle.

In my late teens and early twenties I was on the receiving end of a few fat chats and weigh-ins. When older people place strictures on younger people's bodies it feels like a creepy abuse of power. Those experiences still lurk in my mind; and while I don't go hungry, I would be lying if I said that I eat "whatever I want". Some friends in their 30s and 40s sustained worse damage and remain haunted by teachers' words spoken decades ago. For them every bite summons up guilt and conflict.

As a choreographer I have not yet had to speak to dancers about weight. In fact I would do just about anything to avoid it. I'd rather take on the challenge of designing dances that flatter people's differences .

Celebrating differences!

Ballet X in"Stations of Mercury"