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major weight gain


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Has anyone else out there been out for so long that they have completely lost their old bodies? How did you get back into it?

At this point in the game for me, I'm dealing with all kinds of issues (emotional AND physical) about returning.

I'd probably have to start in a very beginner class which frustrates me so much b/c my mind knows so much more, but the body can't. When i walk in the door, i know they are thinking, "wow" But, they don't realize where i've been or what i've previously accomplished in dance. If it weren't for my being out of shape, i could TEACH the class.

Just makes me so sad. Hard to bring myself back.


I used to dance with a local ballet company and even majored in dance in college. But, since getting married and life happened around me, I stopped dancing and put on a lot of weight.

I want to be at the point where i could enjoy taking class a few times a week again... but, this body 'ain't there'!


anyone else out there like me?




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  • Laschwen


  • MissyC


  • lampwick


  • Avalon


Oh don't I know, Missy C! I think you are probably more experienced than I and bet it is much harder for you to know you know the stuff and then have difficulty doing it than it is with me. However, I started ballet three years ago overweight and way out of shape. In fact, ballet helped me lose a lot of weight and gain a lot of confidence in myself over time. I just kept telling myself that I was happy with where I was in life and what this body had done for me in giving birth to my beautiful two daughters...it gave me a real reason to want to dance!


I just say "YOU GO GIRL!" I'm very proud that you are taking that first step back to something you love so much.



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Guest SunshineMC2004

In my opinion, if you have the desire to dance, you should go for it.


I am much bigger than most of the people in my classes as well, but I love to dance, and I know why I am dancing.... I think beautiful dancers are beautiful because of their expression and passion for dance, not because they are tiny.


If when you're dancing, you can think of nothing else but that moment, then you should stick with it! When I dance, every barrier breaks down, because I am caught up in the music and motion of it all!!!!

Believe you're beautiful and you'll dance beautiful, and the weight will take care of it's self in time!

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Believe me, I know how the emotional challenges of being an adult dancer can be as difficult to overcome as the physical sometimes. But this summer I had a real epiphany and I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it helps.


I have just been posting on another thread about my running background. Suffice it to say that I totally do NOT have a "ballet body" -- not even remotely close! I am short, very compact, and extremely overmuscled. I am built rather like a gymnast; not the tiny delicate Soviet type but the more bulky, powerful, vaulting type. For years in ballet class, all I would see was the obvious discrepancy between my body and the ballet ideal body. Then, it hit me. I could be executing technique perfectly, often far better than some of the other adults in my classes, but all I could "see" was my wrong body! So then, I started to look beyond that, and voila! I suddenly "saw" turned out developes just above 90 degrees. I saw really nice and flowing port de bras. I saw really nice back flexibility in my circular cambres. Now of course, all this was there before, but I didn't observe it, so preoccupied was I with my "wrong" body type.


I hope you can make a similar perceptual shift right now to appreciate what your body can do, and be a little more gentle with how it looks right now. It seems as if you have an amazing background, so I would think that maybe you are just not "seeing" the gifts you still have.

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Hi MissyC,


You wrote that your goal is to be taking classes a few times per week and enjoying it. Sometimes it helps to make achieving your goal more process-oriented. If you make your goal to simply attend the classes and put out maximal effort (concentration etc) while you're there, the results will take care of themselves. I used this approach since I was so horrid to look at, my poor teacher! Her eyes! :blink: I still feel like I owe her a gift certificate to an eye doctor or something, he he.


If you make your goal the simple attendance and 100% participation, and that's IT, don't look at your results, don't even look at yourself in the mirror too much, you will do it. You'll turn around a year from now and look and feel great!



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I think everything that has been said above is excellent and I echo everyone’s sentiments. Our bodies change with age naturally and there isn’t much we can do about it (aside from plastic surgery). Difficult to accept, but inevitable.


I can be wrong here, but I sense something else is going on. I sense that MissyC has had a successful dance career, is considering going back to an activity she loved and did quite well in, and is faced with the disconnect between her standard of performance now compared to then. Let’s face it, if you are really serious about ballet, serious to the point of being professional, appearance is as much a part of a standard of performance as is technique. That may not be fair, but it is reality.


The problem may not be what MissyC looks like or dances like today. It may be the disconnect between past and present. And this disconnect is very very very difficult to overcome, as MissyC’s definition of what it means to do ballet is a product of her earlier experiences. We adults who started ballet late have a very different orientation than does MissyC. For us there is no disconnect because we started adult dancing with an absolutely blank slate and much lower standards of performance.


What to do, if what I suggest is the case? I don’t really know. Usually when solving a problem, the first thing is to really understand it and what it really is about. Problems often are not what they first appear to be. Ultimately we have to work it out on our own.


My guess is based on my own experience. As a young guy, I experienced a great deal of success in a sport. After many years of doing other things, I came back to that sport to compete in age group events. I was extremely successful too. But it wasn’t the same. The age related success I had was irrelevant to me. My standards were created in my younger years and I never could overcome the discrepancy. I quit after only one year in age group competition. The good thing about it was that my next activity turned out to be dance, so from my perspective now, life turned out just fine.

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I don't quite understand what you meant by this part of your post

When i walk in the door, i know they are thinking, "wow" But, they don't realize where i've been or what i've previously accomplished in dance.


Who's "wowing"? and about what?


Maybe I'm dense today :blink:

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Thank you all so much for such warm and sincere insight on my problem.

I appreciate it very much. Still up sleepless at night upset over my issue, though.



I have to admit that my eyes began to burn with sudden tears when I read your reply. I NEVER thought of it that way before, but... you are so right! I am having a very difficult time "disconnecting" (as you nicely put it) my previously trained eye from my earlier years to accepting what I am today. I expect to be able to execute things the way i used to, and because i can't right now... I feel like it's not even worth it for me to do the class. I fully understand that dancing for the enjoyment of it is 'what it's all about'.... BUT... I can't seem to GET PASSED the fact that the look of myself is not what I know i used to be capable of. I mean, to many family members and friends, Dance was my IDENTITY! I don't even want to see them now because I have lost it so bad. In a matter of seven years, I have completely LOST it all. Stopped dancing and gained major weight. so not cool.


A dance class to me NOW ... is not what it WAS. And that is a brutal reality that I need to face. Rips my heart out. Not that I will not perform anymore... but, that I can't complete a dance class without feeling somewhat proud of myself anymore.


ummm....anyone know of a good therapist??? ha!



Thanks everyone, for letting me get this all out. It's been pent up inside for a long time and it does help to know some people out there understand the emotional ties that exsist with Dance. Hey... aren't all dancers emotional?? :blink:


I still have THAT anyways! hehe...

Thank You all so much!

Garyecht... thank you!!


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I meant "wow" as in... "wow... what are YOu doing here?" As if people are going to judge me right off the bat b/c of my weight. As if they are going to reject me without knowing me first.


(serious emotional junk going on here, i know)

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MissyC, in addition to all that has been said, I can say, as a retired pro, now teaching, that you have many skills you are leavng untouched :wink: First, being in NYC, you have access to several floor-barre classes that can 'fast-track' your progress. The pros use these regularly to recover from some fairly serious injuries.


Secondly, take a step back and imagine yourself back a few years... if a person in your present situation came to you for advice how to deal with this how would you guide her? How would you help her formulate a strategy to again feel empowered and able to claim dance on her own terms? I think you have alot more answers than you are giving yourself credit for :shrug:

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Well, those hypothetical people could also be thinking "wow, that's really great that she's starting ballet again, I remember how hard it was"

or, more likely

Those hypothetical people are so wrapped up in thier own insecurities that they won't even take notice of the new person in class.


Even the people who look like perfect ballerinas, and one would assume are happy with thier bodies, can have some SERIOUS self-esteem issues. You never know what someone's been through.


If you don't have a serious medical problem, there's something emotional/psychological that needs to be dealt with if the weight gain is THAT drastic . Therapy may not be such a bad idea. It's helped a lot of people I know.


my body was definitely very different when I started again (though it may be not as drastic as your story, I can definitely relate to some of your feelings)


I gained 25 pounds in the six years I didn't dance (stopped after college). I didn't exactly feel like I stood out (the weight wasn't so much), but I did feel out of shape (extremely so). I didn't wear just a leotard and tights to class until pretty recently (two years later) It was very difficult to return to ballet. I couldn't lift my leg 45 degrees without immediate cramping, pointe was out of the question, and my back wouldn't bend whatsoever. I would violently shake when it was time to do adagio it made me so nervous. I remember the worst feeling about it was the embarrasment, and frustration that I had "wasted" my body.


The important thing is to not lose the faith. Your body WILL cooperate. It'll just take some time. You may even progress more than you thought possible, IF you find the right teacher and environment you enjoy. You may end up crying a lot and that's OK too, as long as you are generally optimistic. After two years of sticking with it I'm starting to be happy with how I look. It just takes patience.


What's good about starting over from scratch is that you LEARN so much more than you ever knew. I know that I didn't know what I didn't know. My ballet teacher says things like this... It's like Yogi Berra ballet wisdom or something.


Good luck to you! Take class. You'll get better. Hell, it can't get worse, right?

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I danced from age 4 until 20. When I finished college and got a real job I gained 40 lbs. Talk about not having your old body. I went back to classes probably over a year ago now. I can't do *all* the things I used to be able to do but I am getting there and probably getting better, I am hoping I had time to forget any old bad habits. We were just discussing this last night in class how I'd prefer to not see myself in the mirror. In my mind I am still a little 18 year old that looks pretty good dancing, don't want to ruin that by actually seeing myself! But there are small accomplishments, last night I discovered I am the only one in the class that can get all the way over on my pointes while doing waltz step. Now if only my extension would catch up with what it is in my imagination I'd be set (sadly it wasn't never anything to brag about even at 18)!

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Once you have started you will realised how quickly you will get the ballet bug again. As you are coming from a professional background you probably will catch up much quicker than somebody who has to learn ballet from the scratch. And you will take on corrections quickly as well. Just do it

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Guest kristinene

I think that all of us who stopped dancing for awhile came back with some similar thoughts..."What is my body doing? I didn't tell it to do THAT!" And even after being back awhile I still think this! It can be hard to let go of what I know that I used to be able to do, and hard to look in the mirror and not see what I expect to see (in terms of line and of, shall we say, figure). I found it much easier starting in an adult class, then moving on to a more advanced, though much younger (!) class. It gave me a chance to recognize myself as a 'new' dancer, and to recognize myself in a leotard and tights as an adult!


I hope that you can start feeling the joy of dance again soon! Keep us posted!

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