“I’ve been dancing since the age of 10. I improved very quickly in a short amount of time. I grew up in a small town and my teacher supported me all the way through as best as she could with the resources she had. I had a craving to move in some form every day. It was all I could think about for the longest time. My teacher pushed me to audition for the top school in the UK. I was hesitant at first but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go.
Surprisingly, I got a place and was over the moon. This was what I had dreamt about for years and years. I couldn’t wait to experience it and watch all these amazing dancers that come from all over the country to be in this one spot and create art altogether in one area. I started off as a contemporary dancer but had some ballet training. I learned the reality of the ballet world as soon as I entered those doors. My hopes and dreams about this place were shattered.
On one of my first days, my teacher soon learned I wasn’t as experienced as everyone else and completely ignored any question I asked and looked at me with disgust while praising other dancers. Another ballet teacher told me in front of the entire class that he ‘wanted to kill himself every time he watched me dance’. While other dancers laughed about this statement, it really took a toll on my mental health.
I would stand at the front of the barre to push myself to be confident, but the same ballet teacher would watch me do the phrase and genuinely stand there with his arms folded laughing in my face, and just sigh. After this, it just got worse and worse. Lots of comments on my weight and laughing about my stomach being slightly bigger than everyone else’s.
These role models that I once looked up to and the best dancers in the industry hated me for who I was and how I danced. I left this studio every day feeling overweight and never enough for anyone because of the comments made about me. I’m really struggling with whether to continue dancing or give it up. It’s the only thing I enjoy and am good at and I really was hoping to take it to a professional level but I’m worried I won’t be good enough.”