Dance Difficulties

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As an extremely challenging and physically demanding pastime, it makes sense that a career in dance has lots of pressures that go along with it. This should come as no surprise seeing that every professional sport requires hard work and at least some sacrifice. It is questionable, however, if there is maybe too much pressure put on dancers in this day and age. Many people do not realize what it takes for a person to make it as a dancer, the dedication and drive the person must have. The fact of the matter is, the outcome of a dancer’s career may not outweigh the physical and emotional damages left over from the long journey to the top. In the eighteenth century, the most prominent dancer of the time, Marie Camargo, set the standard for the typical dancer’s physique. The body characteristics of no hips, breasts, or stomach became the customary body shape for dancers at that time, and in the future (Gim). George Balanchine, one of the most prominent dance choreographers in dance history is responsible for the basic look of a thin ballet dancer. His goal within a dance company was for all of the females to look as identical as possible. He wanted dancers who were tall and streamlined with beautifully arched feet, long, elegant legs and a graceful extension (Solway 57). He believed that the thinner the dancer, the better one could see their bodies and movements. Due to the views of George Balanchine, it soon became the norm for a dancer to be a certain height and weight. Soon that is what company producers, directors, choreographers, and the public expected. Even today, “an ideal has been set in place in the dance community which reflects the general public’s desire to see thin women on stage” (10-6). The main goal of a dance company is to have viewers, and for that to happen the public must be visually pleased. Cultural ideas of feminine beauty cause young women to feel a strong desire to be thinner than their bodies naturally tend to be (10-1). This idea is even more widespread in the dance world; literally, people who are not thin do not get jobs. Certain sports create environments that harbor unhealthy eating habits, and dance is one of the most common (Despres). These eating habits can eventually escalate into an eating disorder if not treated correctly. Every eati... ... middle of paper ... ...s to do what they love to do. Applegate, Liz. “Athletes Are More Vulnerable to Anorexia Than Non-Athletes.” Opposable Viewpoints. 24 Jan 2005. . Binks, Georgie. “Eating Disorders are Not Necessarily Harmful.” Opposable Viewpoints. 24 Jan 2005. . Despres, Renee. “Female Athletes Are at Risk of Eating Disorders.” Opposable Viewpoints. 24 Jan 2005. . Dobie, Michael. “The Eating-Disordered Male Athlete.” Opposable Viewpoints. 24 Jan 2005. . Gim, Kari. “The Perfect Ballet Body.” Opposable Viewpoints. 24 Jan 2005. . Hood, Joel. “Dying to Win: Athletes and Eating Disorders.” Opposable Viewpoints. 24 Jan 2005. . Levenkrom, Steven. Anatomy of Anorexia. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2001. Neale, Wendy. Ballet Life Behind the Scenes. New York: Crown Publishing Inc, 1982. Solway, Diane. A Dance Against Time. New York: Pocket Books, 1994. Thompson, Ron A. Sherman; Trattner, Roberta. Helping Athletes With Eating Disorders. Illinois: Human Kinetics Publishers, 1993.

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