Photo by Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: Help! I'm Heavier Than the Other Dancers in My Class!

In our Dear Katie series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!


Dear Katie,

I'm a 14-year-old dancer, and my biggest dream is to become a professional. I have pretty good technique (though I'm still a work in progress, of course). My issue is my weight. I'm not overweight at all—in the regular world, I'm quite slim—but I'm bigger than the other dancers in my class. Should I work on losing weight if I want to become a professional? Or do you think I can find a company that will take me as I am?

Elizabeth


Dear Elizabeth,

First of all, at 14, your body is still changing. Your hormones are in flux. You and your classmates are probably in different places developmentally. None of you know yet what your adult bodies will look like.

Dieting at this age is not a good idea—it could lead to injury and/or developmental delays. Eat nutritious foods that provide adequate fuel for your dancing, and instead of worrying about your weight, focus your energy on your training. Hone your technique. Develop your artistry. Keep building your stamina.

Even if you don't grow up to have the "ideal" ballet body, you won't need to change yourself to find a place in the professional dance world. Troupes of all stripes, including larger ballet companies, are starting to accept more and more diverse body types. Smart directors know that a strong, healthy dancer is always a better hire than someone who's starving herself.

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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