“I was ‘blessed’ with the ‘perfect ballet body’. Long legs and arms, short torso, incredibly hyper-mobile. Unfortunately, this ‘perfect’ body comes with its flaws. Since my early teens, I was incredibly injury prone and had a number of relatively serious and long-term injuries. Throughout my full-time training and time within a professional ballet company, I was continuously told I was weak.
Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how I could become stronger and it was starting to become a real problem with ballet staff.During my first year in the corps I got injured in rehearsal. I was in enormous amounts of pain and it seemed like it didn’t matter what I did, the strength never came. I would spend hours in the gym and not eat lunch or have breaks between rehearsals to spend ever spare moment exercising.
On top of this, I had terrible anxiety as a result of my experiences but disclosing this would add fuel to the ‘weakness’ fire. Two years later, when I had finally started to get on top of the injury and was back at my best, I was told my contract wouldn’t be renewed because I was never going to get better (even though physio’s had told them that I already was).
Seemed like all of the hours and work I’d put into not being seen as weak had gone completely unnoticed. I felt so invisible and insignificant. Two years after getting out of the ballet world, I still struggle with this constant need to prove myself and continue to hide my emotions to not be seen as the weak link.”