Magazine article Dance Magazine

Advice for Dancers

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Advice for Dancers

Article excerpt

Q

Each time I look at my muscular legs in the mirror, I want to curl up in a ball and cry. For a while I could make them look better with Pilates exercises. But my mom can't pay for more classes on top of twenty hours of dance a week. Now I hate my body, even though I'm thin! I'm also bulimic. What do I do?

Brandi from Oregon

A

It's time to get professional help. Many young dancers become their own worst enemies, criticizing themselves nonstop for every imperfection and becoming depressed, while others go one step further and develop eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. In your case, it's important to see a physician who can monitor your health and refer you to a specialist in eating disorders. Meanwhile, dance teachers can promote a healthier body image in young students by helping them accept their natural limitations. After all, who's perfect?

Q

I'm a 16-year-old anorexic who is finally heading in the right direction thanks to my therapist and nutritionist. My problem is that I'm afraid to reach the minimum weight they recommend (110 pounds at 5'4"). Am I wrong to think that professional dancers weigh less?

Seeking Second Opinion

A

Trust your doctors! Your goal weight is 11 percent below your ideal weight for height--which is still very thin. More importantly, you'll be able to keep up your strength. Remember, dancers are athletes as well as artists.

Q

I'm a 16-year-old dance student and I'm interested in a career treating injured dancers. I'm not sure how to accomplish this in terms of classes and medical experience. Can you help me?

Jennifer in California

A

Yes! Physical therapy is a natural choice for dancers, who know all about injuries. To find out about undergraduate programs, contact the American Physical Therapy Association for information on advanced training in your area, at (800) 999-2782. …

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