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Weigh in - at ballet school! Need advice!

ma de deux

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I have looked for a place to post this..............this is the best that I could find. But, I am desperate for some advice. Today was the first day back from break, no dancing for 2 1/2 weeks..

Well, the first thing that the upper division was hit with.............are your ready for this??? A WEIGH IN --------on a scale. Any opinions, advice or ideas?????

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  • Mel Johnson


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I think you should get together with some of the other parents and log a protest. I'm assuming that you're paying for classes or residency. I would have a long talk with your children to see if this is just one aspect of over attention to weight at this facility. As discussed many times on this board weight is one of many variables that differ due to body type, height, muscle mass and bone structure. It is unfair to compare one child to another. I only hope they did not call out the numbers after each child.

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ma de deux, I'm really glad you posted. I know you took the time to find an existing thread and chose, Beware of Weight Talk, but it's better to have your own topic for this, I believe.


Is this a regular school policy and, if so, were you aware of it?


I have heard of this in days past, but didn't think it still went on. :huepfen: How did your daughter and her classmates handle it? I might use that, in conjunction with the information on the "Beware of Weight Talk" thread about eating disorders, when you approach your daughter's school administrator.


I hope you'll get some more good feedback from teachers and parents, ASAP.

Edited by BW
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Thank you BW.


This WAS definately not a policy of this school , until now apparently. We have been at this school for over 10 years, and as of late, the mentality is swinging wildly in that direction. My daughters have grown up there :huepfen:


Needless to say, the DK's reactions were-------- stunned, shocked and stupefied. As was mine. No warning at all.


CM- the numbers were not called out , but put into a notebook.

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NO NO NO. This can cause all kinds of problems. Starving before weigh ins, binging afterwards. This is an out dated and irresponsible idea. I am totally against it. There is already too much weight pressure on these young dancers without the management saying ANYTHING!.

I would recommend nutritionists coming in and talking to the dancers separately from the teachers or AD's. :)

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If the weigh-in is done privately and individually, along with other statistic-taking (height, hip rotation, elementary neuro workup, scoliosis check) by health professionals, and the results kept utterly confidential, then I would see nothing wrong with it, but I somehow suspect it's not done this way. And I would find anything short of what I have proposed in matters of privacy and confidentiality unethical.

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If the weigh-in is done privately and individually, along with other statistic-taking (height, hip rotation, elementary neuro workup, scoliosis check) by health professionals, and the results kept utterly confidential, then I would see nothing wrong with it, but I somehow suspect it's not done this way.  And I would find anything short of what I have proposed in matters of privacy and confidentiality unethical.


I totally agree with you.

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When I first went to Harid, we did annual physical assessments, by a physical therapist...height, weight, proportions, flexibility, body fat count etc. The results were kept very private (I never saw one, but then again, I never asked). The students and parents were horrified. We eventually learned to not do that part of the job. It really never mattered much to the faculty since we were never given access to the information. We eventually did away with the annual accessment. To tell you the truth, everyone seems to be much happier since we stopped the assessments. The faculty did not need them anyway to do our job better. I repeat...we did away with physical assessments by a qualified professional years ago. :)


Physical assessments may be useful to help to determine the potential for physical progression when children are young, between 9-11, however after that it would seem to be just more paperwork.

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I'm glad you clarified that, since that was a rumor that I had heard about Harid that concerned me. Even as a parent of a boy, I would be deeply concerned with sending my son to a residency who did weigh-ins. As we all know, this can cause a serious problem with kids that are already too conscious of weight. I would rather make sure that the goal of the school is to help my child reach his potential as a dancer AND well-adjusted individual, rather than a dancer with the perfect Balanchine body with a hint of an eating disorder. :)


ma de deux:

I agree with the other posters. I would voice my concern over this immediately. :angry:


hang in there :sweating:

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DS' studio has become refocused on weight. There have been some comments made but, as mentioned earlier in the post, the "official" steps taken were to bring in a nutritionist and respectfully request that the bake sale offer healthy foods rather than chips and fat laden crackers. This seems to have gotten people's attention in a kinder way.

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Our governor has added raising health-consciousness to his official agenda. He has a weight/exercise program that he is touting and the local paper includes a weekly feature page on exercises and exercise programs. He encourages the state workers to participate in work-endorsed exercise programs. Our state has been labeled one of the most obese, if not the most obese, state in the union.


Early on in his campaign for more healthy citizens, there was talk about weighing children in the public schools, ostensibly to provide parents with "valuable information". (dah! who can't see what is before their eyes?) Needless to say, there was quite a public outcry and as far as I can tell, it was dropped.


Too bad our state thought weigh-ins would be the answer instead of re-introducing PE to all schools for all years (rather than the current 1 year in high school). I remember having PE every day of every year of my entire primary and secondary school career. Our state just cuts out pretty much all PE and arts from the required curriculum. . . .

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However, being a residential school, Harid is in the interesting position of being in loco parentis 24/7 for the school year. It might be prudent to have a personal health baseline from which to work in case of acute illness. Since the assessment itself was proving to be a source of morale problems, it was wise to drop it. The arts faculty don't necessarily need to see those data. Neither do the academic faculty. The school health and safety people shouldn't have to work without it.

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I would be absolutely furious is my dds recreational dance school weighed them without my permission. That really crosses the boundary of what I pay them to do. And its none of their darn business.


I do understand Mr. Johnson's point about having a baseline weight on record at a residential school. Perhaps this is in part to make sure students aren't LOSING too much weight. NBS requires that we submit a doctors report including weight and height. I'm not sure if they weight the kids again when they are there. I understand, though, that NBS is a professional school that selects students based on their potential for training as classical dancers, and for this reason, they must consider growth patterns. I just hope the info is kept confidential (from the other students). I would expect that it would be.


Ma de deux, is your dk still upset? Did you (or do you plan to) speak to the school administration?

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Charting the weight and growth of children, ballet students or otherwise, is the work of their doctors and as such, it should remain in dr's offices. A yearly physical includes all the information necessary to have a baseline of health for any given student at a residency program.


I feel strongly that when a ballet school, no matter how well-intentioned, weighs students, they risk triggering unhealthy behavior. These are the people who wield the power that could determine a student's dance future; every single student knows that. Such awareness can, in some more fragile kids, insidiously take root in their minds, causing dangerous behavior.


It's a much different matter when such an exam takes place in its proper environs - a dr's examining room.


I think it's a good idea for ballet residencies to require that parents allow students' medical histories (included a required up-to-date physical) be sent to a local dr. who, in the event of emergency or ballet school concerns, can examine the student. Students can be certain their medical records stay in the medical office where they belong and their ballet teachers do not have access to such personal records.


Should a ballet school become concerned about a student's health, they can call the dr., report their concerns, and send the student in for an exam. Let the drs. decide when to call in a nutritionist, psychologist, etc., for an individual student, not the ballet school.

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Harid has much information on the health and welfare of the students. There are many forms to fill out and on file, medical and otherwise, I assure you. Baseline health information is not at a shortage at all! :)

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