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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Need to Vent a Little...


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Her pediatrician way back when she was a tot was great about it. When I let him know I was worried about her not growing "normally" at age 5 months or so, he'd ask, "Can she read? Does she know the books say she's supposed to gain a pound a month?" His point was that she followed her own curve beautifully and was thriving.

Unfortunately, our pediatrician was not as reassuring. Even though he would tell me my daughter was growing consistent with her own pattern, and not to worry, I would have to bring her in for constant weight checks--sometimes as often as every two weeks when she was a baby. I would nod my head when he told me not to worry, but as an insecure new mom, I kept thinking of those college psych textbook examples of the un-nurtured baby monkey and it's "failure to thrive." :yes:


The weight checks continued up through most of her elementary years, since every time she got sick with a cold or something, she would lose enough weight to put her off the chart again. Finally she made it up to around the 15th percentile at one of her yearly checkups, and it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders!

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Actually I think situations such as one originally described are opportunities rather than problems. I mean throughout life, one will be confronted with things like gossip, unsolicited advice, and contrary beliefs. Dealing with these is not taught in any school either. And in such instances, I think a parent is in an ideal position to teach and guide a young person.

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Several people on this thread and elsewhere on the boards have mentioned that their dd is naturally underweight/has trouble keeping weight on, or even looks ill they are so thin. Some of these dd's have become professional dancers.

My dd's are thin, but certainly no one would wonder if they are anorexic! They love to eat! They have always been in the 25-50th percentile for weight, and about 75th for height. Is this OK? I can't help but worry that this will be a disadvantage in pursuing a ballet career. :) I wonder if other parents reading the boards may be getting the same impression.

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"If you call this thin, you should've seen her when she was 4 years old!"


This post reverbrates with our family situation. One of my daughters is small for her age but looks quite healthy. She is now 12 1/2 and is only beginning to get any curve in the hips. She looks quite young for her age. People comment all the time and it does bother her at times. When people say anything to me, I just laugh it off and tell them stories of my attempts to sneak butter on all her food when she was younger! (It didn't work, no matter what I did she stayed her same naturally thin self). At this point, she actually out eats me on a regular basis. :)

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I wouldn't worry - it seems to me that the ideal aesthetic "body-type" that lends itself to a promising pro future is based more on structure and proportion. Yes, the standard is thinner than for the general population, but appearing to be TOO thin is not a requirement or desireable! I think the focus of the thread has been to show that frail looking girls have their own battle with outside perceptions. Something not often realized by those who consider them "lucky".

Your daughters sound like mine. She's naturally slender, but has a very hearty appetite. She has beautiful ballet proportions, but would never be mistaken for anorexic. There's nothing wrong with that... maintaining her target ballet weight requires smart eating and discipline, but not starvation. There's nothing wrong with that either- in fact it should be the goal of more kids, to some degree.

As I've told her before, carefully trimming a few lbs when necessary is much more do-able than (for example) growing longer legs, or (I can now add) overcoming digestive disorders...

And most important, always, is how you move and training to bring out your true potential!

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