FINALLY! and brava to Tamara Rojo who will take the helm of the company next week. Rojo is one of England’s greatest Ballerinas and she is taking a much needed stand on body image and type in the ballet world. By saying- more like demanding that her dancers look healthy and strong, and not encouraging the waif- like boyish figures that are synonymous with “ballerina” this departure could well be the tipping point for the ballet world at large. Ballerinas do have to be partnered and lifted no doubt but they do not have to be as thin as is becoming the norm (again– there was a time that ballet dancers were thickening back up… in a good way). It would take a woman who, was a girl training through puberty, who was not naturally teeny tiny or birdlike, who had to deal with being told that she needed to lose weight, in a time when people were not careful about your feelings or afraid of being sued, when they would say mean and hateful, hurtful things to your face, in front of classmates and company members, or talk about you to your partner in front of you, who made you guilty or fearful to put anything in your mouth, or GOD forbid to be CAUGHT eating!!…
Ms. Rojo surely knows that particular struggle and I am certain that a sort of healing will hopefully begin, both the one we can see (healthier looking dancers) and most importantly the ones we can, the healing of spirits that have been literally malnutrition by the ideology that made breast and hips shameful. It will be interesting to see if the injuries associated with eating disorder and dieting decrease…
I am so moved today. This was a win for women, for ballet, for dancers and bodies everywhere!!!!!
When Hollywood actress Natalie Portman dramatically portrayed a stick thin ballerina with an eating disorder in the film Black Swan, she provoked fury over her fictional account. Now the new artistic director of English National Ballet has confirmed the drama reflects the painful reality for many dancers.
Tamara Rojo, widely considered the best female dancer in Britain, will begin the job next week and says she wants to stamp out anorexia in ballet.
She said: ‘Audiences want to see beautiful and healthy-looking dancers yet there is still that pressure to be thin.
‘Some comes from the fashion world and that in turn affects ballet. When you are in a ballet company, you often lose perspective of reality. So you go for extremes in order to stand out and be noticed.’
Miss Rojo, 37, who was born in Canada to Spanish parents continues: ‘But I have preached and will continue to preach. I have never been thin and I want for myself and for others to have long and healthy careers. This also comes from what is in your head, as the mind rules the body.’
Miss Rojo has played to great acclaim all the leading roles in ballet including those of Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppelia and Romeo and Juliet – and has been frequently compared to Dame Margot Fonteyn who was ‘definitely not thin’.
he pressures on ENB ballerinas was highlighted by Only Fools and Horses actor Nicholas Lyndhurst, 50, who is married to Lucy Smith, a former ENB ballerina when he spoke out about anorexia in ballet in a 2005 interview with the Daily Mail.
Last year a leading ballerina at La Scala in Milan Mariafrancesca Garritano, was sacked after she
broke the unwritten code of silence by saying there was a ‘plague of anorexia’ in her company.
Miss Rojo has been compared to Dame Margot Fonteyn (pictured) who she says definitely was not thin
Miss Garritano, who weighed just 6.8 stone at her lowest ebb who said she was taunted as a ‘Chinese dumpling’ and ‘mozzarella’ by her instructors: ‘Ballet and the world of dance is a beautiful form of art that should not be exploited and put the lives of ballerinas and dancers at risk,’ she said.
In Russia, The Bolshoi’s Anastaisa Volochkova fired for being too fat and too tall in 2003.
Deborah Bull, a former Royal Ballet principal dancer, has written of the dangers facing dancers as they balance the competing requirements to remain slim and yet still be strong enough to perform.
‘In the longer term a dancer who persistently consumes too little food can compromise bone health, leading to stress fractures and osteoporosis, [and harm to] the reproductive system, kidneys and heart.’
Ismene Brown, dance critic of theartsdesk.com said: ‘Audiences do not want scrawny and boney dancers.
‘It is the dance industry itself which wants what I call ‘ripped’ bodies – a look which is very thin but with visibly defined muscles.’ Brown added that ‘it is often gay choreographers who like this very thin and androgynous look’.
‘In general, choreographers have this idea of dancers as being thin athletes, while audiences see
them as artists’, she said.
‘Yet for me, and I’m sure the public too, this look comes across as ugly and not feminine.’
‘And Tamara Rojo herself is of a womanly and rather rounded shape.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2130067/New-English-National-Ballet-chief-tells-dancers-weight-vows-stamp-anorexia.html#ixzz2TJMix7eE