I have found that talking honestly about health, nutrition and yes weight can be a scary topic for any dance teacher. I also have found that it is my responsibility as a dance educator to talk about all of these things and when I don’t, that’s what makes all of it so taboo. I’ll explain how I finally came to this decision after years of teaching, but first…..
The truth of the matter is that if your child wants to become a dancer or is even toying with the idea, they need to know certain things. Weight is an important factor when it comes to getting a job in this field as well as the role they want in Nutcracker. Most professional dancers weigh about 10% below the normal range. This is important for several reasons.
- It’s esthetically pleasing. Dance is all about the lines of the body and it’s important for the audience to see those lines.
- Most dancers need to be lifted and partnered and it’s the dancer’s responsibility to their partner to be at a weight that is easy to maneuver.
- It will lengthen their career because extra weight is extra stress on the joints and tendons, especially when you’re talking pointe work.
- It will allow the dancer to have higher extension, higher jumps and stellar stamina which are essential to the profession. Simply because their body weighs less; it takes less effort to move.
Yet many dance teachers fear discussing the all too important issues of weight and nutrition with their students for one major reason; we are afraid of it resulting in eating disorders. This is NOT what we want for any of our dancers so we become negligent and don’t talk about it at all.