My body My Image is a workshop that through honest dialogue seeks to bring to light what most often looms above and festers below regarding this issue. The point of the workshop is to start an open dialogue and have the students express their feelings and concerns regarding how they view and experience their bodies and offer some support and techniques to help guide them through these difficult realities. Formatted in a 1 1/2 hour discussion topics would include:
• The Awful Truth: Generally there are “ideal” body types in the dance world. The origins of which date back for centuries, but through time have evolved as the form, bodies and aesthetics evolve. Example: Ballet dancers have not always been pin thin Balanchine began to alter the aesthetic. However petite women have been preferred due to the fact that it facilitates traditional work i.e. partnering
•Puberty and Genes: Puberty is the scariest time in a (female dancer’s) development, who knows what the outcome will be. Teachers and program directors often have difficulty ushering young girls through this time either they make negative remarks about their budding hips and weight fluctuations or render them invisible. The workshop helps dancers navigate this sensitive time with more clarity and understanding.
• Blessings as Curses and Vice Versa: Things like hooked feet and flexibility are lovely to look at and are things that “make a dancer beautiful” but they require a great deal of strength to master. They can also make a dancer prone to injury. Conversely muscularity and strength allow for execution but the presence of it can be aesthetically of putting; likewise tall can be beautiful but hard to partner, short etc.
• A Good Body is one that DOES: Good feet, bad feet, tight, snatched, powerful…Just because there is a preferred aesthetic does not mean that if you do not fit into it you can’t work. The world of dance has broadened and choreographers and directors are embracing diversity and beginning to see beauty in all types.
• Making the best of what you have: There is no such thing as a perfect body. Everyone has a struggle, sometimes it is not as obvious but it is there. Working with what you have, working within your body and capabilities to be the best possible you you can be is the key
• Learning to Love your Body: see Dance Magazine Article