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Ballet Talk for Dancers

My cups runneth over!


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I NEVER thought I would say this but I suddenly started hating my D cups in class! I was doing some grand jettes the other day and saw myself in the mirror and was horrified! The thing is, I have no sagging and am slim and fit otherwise. AND I like to wear pretty leotards in class which don't allow for a sports bra. What's weird is that my chest looks small enough in a leotard with an inset bra and I have less bounce then but the other day, I wore dance shorts and a top with more of a push up type bra and it looked horrific! I was embarrased beyond belief! The very body that would be "successful" in the "real" world looks a tad unsightly in ballet class.

What to do.....!?

There is not much I CAN do, I guess but maybe someone can advise me on what the best type of bra to wear when one is not wearing a leotard? A sports bra will show with my tank tops so is there another dance type bra that might be recommended? Something flattening preferably?


One other thing that I am noticing strongly as I slowly improve is that all the things that women are taught to do in "normal" life are the opposite of what is attractive in ballet class. For example, chest out and butt out might be considered sexy in a dance club but AWFUL in class...but soooo hard to stop standing this way when I have been since I was 16 or so...I have to keep remembering to keep my hips forward, my rib cage flat....so hard..

I would also love recommendations or tips on how to improve my posture to appear more balletic and elegant and less pin up!!!


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  • Mazenderan


  • luceroblanco


  • rlyons


  • Ashurie


I'm a 34 D and I wear a shock absorber sports bra that is one size too small, as this is really the only thing that can minimize bounce during petit allegro.


I've given in on the leotard front and just wear things that will work with a decent sports bra. It's best to be properly supported as you don't want to stretch the Cooper's ligaments


I also feel your pain with the pelvic tilt (chest out, butt out). I do this naturally too. all I can say is that this way lies back injury (trust me), and it feels so much better when you're properly aligned.


I know how you feel about your figure. I'm 37,27,37 - and while this might be good in the real world (unless you're buying sodding jeans) - it doesn't look very balletic. It's taken me a long time to not feel tearful and frustrated at the mirror in class - but, imo, it really is best to accept your body shape and work with it, because there's not too much you can do about the essential shape of it. On the funny side, any time I mention I attend dance classes people tend to ask 'burlesque'? Lol!! I suppose I look better suited to tassels than leotards! :bouncing:

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Thanks! I guess you are right about the sports bra. Forget about looking pretty from the back! ;)

I am very petite on top except for the boobs..only a 32" around...so they really stick out there! LOL

I DO have a long neck, neat head and long legs and arms...but my butt likes to stick out! :bouncing: it's not big, just pert! It likes to announce it's presence! ha ha!

I really need to work on my posture!

That is so funny about burlesque! What a cool idea...ballet burlesque combo!!!? ;)

Are you supposed to think more about keeping the hips forward and/ or keeping the butt tucked in??

Are the glutes meant to feel clenched or not?

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I try not to think about correcting my back, because if I look in the mirror and try to straighten out my lower back I'll get frustrated because my butt sticks out a bit even in correct alignment. So, what I do is focus on straightening at the front: making sure my pubic bone is on a straight line with my abs and my solar plexus. My glute muscles don't so much clench, but they definitely engage when I pull in my abs to get rid of the arch.


There's a risk, when correcting an anterior pelvic tilt, of over-correcting and tucking under. I'm working on my alignment with PT and have avoided this, but it might be worthwhile for you to check with your teacher that you are not tucking under. You might also find pilates helpful.

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I don't think there is much you can do except wear a good supportive bra. I am also a D cup and I never go without a bra in dance class. I usually will wear a sports bra but have one leotard which I'll wear a regular bra because the sports bra shows a LOT. I only wear this leotard to very beginner classes when I know I will not have to do a lot of jumps. Yesterday I did have on a sports bra and I felt pain later on that night in my right breast (just momentarily) and think I did strain something with all that jumping. I have been wearing Glamorise sports bra but I think I need one that is even stronger. I would appreciate recommendations for any brands that you ladies are using. I do not care what it looks like--as long as I can wear it under a regular tank leotard. I may even get some longer sleeve leotards with high backs because it is too cold in the studio in the winter.


Rlyons: do not worry about your figure. Nobody cares in the adult ballet class. If you were 20 years younger trying to audition for professional companies then it would be a problem. Otherwise there is no problem. You may not think it looks like a typical ballerina, but at this stage in your life, unless you want to go under the knife for lipo and have a breast reduction down to AA cup, there isn't much you can do about it.


I personally am tired of seeing dancing skeletons onstage so I wish that this skeletal look would finally become less in vogue in ballet. It is just ugly. I don't think that for professional ballet that C-D cups would be the right look either (or bouncing C-D cups) but it doesn't have to be as extreme on the thin side as it is now. I think women could still look like women in ballet and it would not be detrimental to the art form. Interesting, that male form is accentuated towards the positive in ballet.


As far as the feminine wiles and looks that are encouraged outside of ballet being the opposite of what is encouraged within the ballet milieu, let's not even go there. I have a lot to say about it and it's not positive, and probably my posts would be deleted. If you want to discuss that then please PM me so that I don't start a ruckus on this thread and get kicked off of BT4D!

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Don't worry, luceroblanco. Rest assured that people are never just summarily dismissed from here.... not without having had several years worth of off-board trying to help, and trying to educate. :thumbsup:


Now, according to what I regularly see on the stage, that 'look' that you describe is not the norm. It used to be, but pretty much all the ballet professionals I talk to around the globe are simply looking for healthy, strong dancers. Perhaps check out some different companies from the ones you're most used to? :thumbsup:

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I would appreciate recommendations for any brands that you ladies are using.


Have you checked out www.titlenine.com? You may be able to find something there, they have lots of options for D cups and larger, also with smaller band sizes.

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I agree, with Clara76. In all my years here, there have only been a couple of people removed or as you've mentioned kicked off. (and by a couple, I mean 3 in almost 10 years as a member then moderator here) None of those occured without SEVERAL private pms attempting to work through issues. Posts are never deleted (made invisible yes) without either an onboard or off board explanation to the member except in cases where a member has been asked over and over again not to do something and they do not comply after all of those private attempts. Even then they are told in pm that we will just begin making them invisible if they continue in that vein. A side note that this has only happened when advice giving has run rampant on improper boards. Simply because we do not handle everything on the public board does not mean there isn't much conversation with members behind the scenes. So do not fear your post deleted (they rarely are even made invisible without at least a "let's not go there") or do not fear your being kicked off but also don't make assumptions that we do anything of the sort willy nilly or that huge attempts are not made prior to any such action because to do so would either be wrong, or only 1/2 of a 2 part story. :thumbsup:


But let's get back to cups running over.

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I'm in a similar boat...I'm a 34C, and always feel top-heavy. I do the best I can with supportive leos and dance bras.


I will say that during a recent studio/company performance, I was back stage helping direct and get the little ones ready and noticed some of the experienced dancers literally taking a very wide ace bandage and bandaging themselves flat before donning their tutus. It did an amazing job at flattening (although I can't imagine if felt good).

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Just to clarify and keep from misinterpretation. In costuming the use of an ace bandage is not really to flatten for flattenings sake, but rather to help avoid movement such as bouncing that may or may not be distracting on stage.

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Ok, thanks moderators.


I am happy to know that the skeletal look is not the norm at all ballet companies. I do not want to name the company in my city which is the one I have seen most often, where it IS the norm. They are quite famous. All the women look like dancing skeletons and some of them worse than others but all are extremely thin--and this is from seeing them onstage and not up close, so I don't want to imagine what they look like up close. I went to three different ballet concerts they did last year, not including Nutcracker, and it was just painful to watch, depending on the costuming, because the women were so thin. You could see their bones from a distance. The soloists and principals were worse than the corps, which did not look as emaciated. The only ones I really enjoyed were a 20th century piece in which they wore period clothing (long skirts and dresses for the women) so I didn't have to see their figures, and the Nutcracker, which was mostly local children and they were fine.


The only other ballet company I saw last year was ABT and that was Romeo & Juliet. Because of the costumes and distance from the stage (I was in the Family Circle) even with opera glasses, I have no idea about their figures, but the costumes were great and so was the ballet.


It has really hindered me from going to anything at my local company since almost every program has some "leotard" ballets--although I did attend a donor event for a dress rehearsal. Fortunately there were period costumes too so the "look" was not distracting. I don't want to attend anything they do that is not in long period costumes that cover up the women's bodies. Which is kind of the opposite of what some of the proponents of the emaciated look think--that the thinner the ballerina, the better the line. I don't even want to see their line.


They are the only classical ballet of stature in my city. There are a lot more modern companies in my city and a company that does contemporary ballet. I may start going to some more modern programs instead.


Please let me know if this is out of bounds and too sensitive to be discussed. Rylons concern really hit a nerve because at the adult studio I attend, there are women obsessed about getting thin and it just pains me to hear them talk about what to me are ED. I can understand the pressure that professional dancers are under--it is your life, your job, if you don't conform, but I just find it even sadder that the perception of this "look" seems to be there among some amateur ballerinas as well. Rest assured, my teacher NEVER says anything to encourage this or ever talks about body size at all. All shapes and sizes were in a recent show we did. So the ladies are not getting this pressure from the teacher. I also think that it can become a worse problem with amateurs, because professionals are dancing 8 hours a day. Anybody who is doing that much physical exercise is going to be pretty slim, even eating a lot. Meanwhile amateurs that are working at a desk job, even if they take class every day cannot burn off that many calories.


Rylons' comments though were not about size but rather curves, slightly different topic, and also about what is seen as attractive outside ballet as in direct opposition to inside. I do have a lot to say about that but I will wait to see how this discussion moves and see if I can figure out a proper way to address it here staying in the guidelines.

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Despite ace bandages not being for the sake of flattening it did a heck of a job accomplishing what it wasn't meant to do. ;)

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Also thanks for the recommendation of titlenine.com. I think I have seen the site before as my current sports bra is on it but I never bought from them. I am going to call and speak to someone. My current bra is a 4 barbell and it is just not enough for the jumping in dance class.


(But then I am the one who has the teacher who will give us 32 changements de pieds at the end of a regular class and we have already done probably 60 jumps earlier in the class. 72 changements de pieds at the end for the open classes that I take now and then--so maybe it is not the bras but EXTREME jumping). :thumbsup:

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We will keep the discussion, but I really believe that it belongs on the Adult Buddy Board, not the Student Forum, where the main focus is supposed to be on technique and technical questions.

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I am a skinny little waif with no chest whatsoever! BUT, I used to do a lot of horseback riding, and the bigger-chested ladies spoke of "RVM bras" (restricted vertical movement)

Supposedly they are designed to minimize 'bounce.' :)

When I googled it, this site came up:


Edited by shy.mouse
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