Dancers and Their Eating Disorders

Reilley Banning, Junior Editor

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Dancers are elegant and graceful. They look like they have it all put together especially while gliding gracefully on the stage. But what happens behind the facade of the prima ballerinas and tappers alike?

Dancers are in front of mirrors for hours at a time. Being in front of a mirror for that long cannot be good for anybody’s psyche, and has been proven to have many negative effects. The mental health of any person can be damaged greatly by the way his or her body is critiqued. 

I myself have struggled with my body over the years, thinking that I wasn’t tall enough, or I was too tall, or I wasn’t this or that. I thought I had to look a certain way to be a good dancer and succeed in my sport.

I asked Lauren Bratt, a dancer who goes to MHS, if she believed being in the studio all the time constantly in front of a mirror can damage a dancer’s mental health, and she stated: “Yes, I believe that constantly staring at a mirror and judging yourself can harm your mental health. Also I believe that there has to be something else going on; I don’t think that it can come straight from dance.”

Next I asked Olivia Mansier, who dances at Elite in Brunswick. She explained, “Yes, I definitely think constantly staring at yourself doing a sport that is already opinionated-based puts a damper on your self esteem. You start to compare yourself to the other dancers, pointing out all your downfalls.” Dancers often think to compare themselves to other dancers, but no one dances alike and no one looks the same. So yes, dance does affect the mental health of those who take it. But if you are a dancer here at MHS then take a breath and remember that everyone is beautiful in their own way, and whatever your sport is should not dictate your body type.