“I started dancing at the age of 4, but it wasn’t until I was 12 that I started thinking about it seriously. I worked really hard to catch up on everything as fast as I could but no matter how much my technique progressed, I was always told it should be better.
For a long time, I trained with girls much older than me so they not only treated me differently, but I was also always left in the corner of the room. By the time I was 13, I had been told many times that I needed to “watch my weight and stick to a diet” and, even though I was skinny, my dance coach would tell me that at least once a week. I have developed a love-hate relationship with dance, chronic distress, several eating disorders, thoughts of worthlessness, and fear of not satisfying everyone.
I confronted my coaches and said that if they kept on doing this to other young girls, this cycle would never end in the dance world. They told me that I was ungrateful and that no one wants dancers who look bad on stage. When I admitted that they were the reason that I had always been on a diet over the last few years, they told me that it evidently hadn’t worked because I wasn’t slim enough and looked massive when I was dancing.
Since I was very young, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without thinking that I was fat and hating myself. This cruelty and destruction have to end. The worst part of it all is that it is done by people who have experienced it themselves and, for that exact reason, they should be aware of all the consequences which such behavior has on young dancers.”