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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Can you be too thin (no eatting disorder)


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  • Mel Johnson


  • joyellen


  • Victoria Leigh


  • mylildancer


Yes, it needs to be ordered thru an MD. Again- don't go to the DXA center around the corner. Altho they are excellent in knowing calculating the Z scores for menopausal women, they won't be able to say much for a 14 yo. I would start with a children's hospital- your pediatrician would probably have a good idea.

Even tho I work in a very large children's hospital, there is still controversy amongst the DXA experts here about what is "normal"! Also, the technology is changing, as always.

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I can't believe that I found this thread today! Yesterday, dd's ballet technique class had a guest teacher - a friend of dd's teacher who dances with a company in

London. This teacher pulled me aside and questioned me about dd's eating habits, because "in my opinion she is much too thin." She said that when dd is in first position her thighs should meet - dd's doesn't. She has very muscular legs, but no fat per say - in any area of her body!!!


dd's is 9, and is thin but extremely healthy. Her pediatrician says it's genetic. dd is adopted from Korea and her Dr. is Chinese. He is very aware about Asian body type. I explained all of that to this to the guest teacher. She wasn't impressed by my answer :o


Fortunately, dd's teacher is aware of her body type, and doesn't think it's a problem.


Now I have a question that Mel or Ms Leigh hopefully can answer. This guest teacher also commented on dd's feet. She said dd had a strong arch, but that the top of her foot didn't have that nice rounded look.(my words, not hers - I can't remember her exact words because I was still fuming about the "too thin"comment :thumbsup: ) I had dd show me her pointed arch at home, and it does look different from what I see on other girls. Will this make a difference in determining when and if she can go on pointe? (yes I know she has a few years to go before that happens!)


Anyone can chime in here, because I know there are a lot of experienced parents out there!

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omoni5-When I am in first position my thighs only meet at the knee's and barely at the very top of my legs! And I am a non dancing mom with a good turn-out! Yes I am doing the position correctly! :o

Granted I work out a lot! Last year I was also accused of being anorexic by someone at my gym. I eat a lot, work out a lot and have been blessed with a this body type. Dd is the same. I am almost positive that her thighs do not meet either! Will check her when she gets home!


On one of those "reality shows" we saw a judge tell someone that she was too thin because her thighs did not touch when her feet were together facing forward. Both Dd and I tried this and our thighs did not touch except at the knee's!

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Victoria Leigh

This is not unusual at all for someone 9 years old! Good grief! The guest teacher was being extremely unrealistic and obviously has no experience with young children :sweating:


As to the feet, that could be a problem, if there is no instep. However, if she has a decent arch, she may, at this age, be able to develp the instep quite a bit. She will need to work very hard on her feet, and her teacher should have her doing this already. Theraband work, as well as hand stretching, which she should show you how to do with her. It is fortunate that this is noticed early, while there is still time to improve it.

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:innocent: Thanks Ms. Leigh for the advice. I mentioned your reply to dd's teacher last night, and she did say that she had noticed dd's instep was a "little flat", but has her working on it in class. She did give us a Theraband and showed me how to do the handstretching exercises at home.


Dd' comment on this was "oh - now dad has to massage my feet as well as yours" :sweating:

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  • 2 years later...

I hope it's o.k. to reply on this thread that I just came across from 2004, but I just wanted to add my comment. First of all, as I was reading it, I couldn't help from laughing out loud at Mel Johnson's comments throughout, (never too rich), love it.

I personally, slightly, pushed my dd into ballet at the age of around 9 yrs old because of her thinness. I figured it will help her self esteem in school with her peers, and what I thought then, was ballet had a reputation for thin girls. Well, one thing led to another, years passed, she stuck with it, for now she is 14, still continuing with ballet, and has been accepted into wonderful SI's. Just because I wanted her not to be insecure about her natural structure. Although, then being a novice at this whole business, now I learn that it takes WAY more than just a "ballet body". You need the feet, which my dd has to work her butt off for, the turnout, ditto, the extensions, ditto. She is a very hard worker and is managing to get into exclusive SI's, but we'll see how this will all pan out. The compation just keeps getting fiercer.

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Wow, what a blast from the past!


I can only think of one thing to say now, two years later: puberty happens!.........eventually :innocent:

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Mel Johnson

And the most frustrating thing is if the student has the ballet body, but not the ballet brain, or the ballet emotional strength. That leads to lots of heartbreak. Glad to hear that your dd is progressing.

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Thank you both for commenting on my comments. The ballet brian she still strives to have. It's the ballet emotional strength that will be interesting and a challenge, I'm sure, for her. We'll see how far she goes. And I'll be there, either way, to tell her how proud I am of her for all of her accomplishments.

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Just thought I'd add to this. Family history is a good thing to look at when we see a "skinny child". I was very thin as a child and teen, so much so my moms friends always asked if "something" was wrong. I ate like a horse. My sister and mother were both thin. I grow up, have kids, My first who is 15 is soooo skinny. He is also 6'2", this makes him seem even thinner. Took him to the Dr. She said he was within normal ranges, did full blood workups and tests. Completely healthy. My DD has a twin brother. DD is very thin and has been teased on the school bus about being anorexic. Again, eats like a horse, doc says she is healthy. Now...her twin brother is stocky with short legs. He has my height and a body more like my husbands. Lucky for my DD... she has my family genetics for weight and my husbands height.


Please remove if I'm in the wrong place (DD will be 13 in 3 months)

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This thread really hits home. DD gets the thin gene from both sides, her maternal grandma and my husband. My mom is very thin and was one of those "Is she o.k?" kids that ate like crazy. I remember once when I was a kid we were at a restaurant and the entire kitchen staff peaked out the door to see the tiny woman who was eating so much. My husband didn't break 100 lbs until he was 17. My mom's genes are quite recessive in me. That's one of the judgment problems dd faces. People look at her, then look at me and assume there's a problem. My DS1 is stocky like me and others always describe ds2 as a peanut. He's about 3 years behind in weight and one year in height. There is no doubt in my mind that genes have more affect on body type than food choices. Meal planning is difficult to help those that need to loose and those that need to gain.


A cute story. When dd was 12.5 we got a Chinese dress for her and took it in but, it was still a little baggy for her. At 13 it was too tight in the tummy but baggy elsewhere. At 13.5 she tried it on again and I heard a shrill from upstairs "I've got curves!". It now fit everywhere. The hormones kicked in and her waist moved around.


Although, recently her AD checked up with me about her eating to make sure everything was o.k.

It's interesting how differently it felt to have her teacher check-up on her instead of a nosey parent. I was grateful to know that he is concerned about his dancers that way.

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  • 5 months later...

My daughter auditioned this weeekend for a summer intensive program.. The audition started with the auditioner asking my 12 year old daughter if she ate in front fo the entire group... THAT was inappropriate... I have three children... and I starve all three... by the looks of them... Common sense would tell you if the ballet school she attended for nine years was concerned it would have been addressed... Imagine the outrage if someone asked an obese child if they ate a lot!!! It is 100% genetic!!!!

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Sylve', I understand your outrage and I definitely agree that an auditioner (a complete stranger) asking your daughter such a question so publicly was quite inappropriate. But your assertion that 'common sense' would say that her home studio administrators/teachers would have addressed it if they thought there was a problem, is not really a valid statement. They may--or may not--have recognized a problem and even if they had, they may--or may not--have addressed it. That is the insidious, slippery slope aspect of this problem---when there is a problem (which I'm not even suggesting is the case with your dd. Please don't think I am taking issue with that).


Your daughter doesn't have the problem, so this 'concern' all comes off as very busybody on anyone's part. However, there ARE kids with this problem and there are many, many, many people in those kids' lives who do not "address the concern"--either because they don't see it, figure someone else will/is, or just are too concerned that they will be perceived/accused of being a busybody.


I don't know what the answer is. :blushing: Yes, it is certainly an inappropriate question/remark in the vast majority of circumstances. But in those few circumstances and when broached properly, it can be a literal life-saver.

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