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