Registered: 1446524554 Posts: 11
Reply with quote #1
Hi. My DD (8 )is a very talented dancer and easily out dances her class mates. Often the older dancers will comment on how well she picks up choreography and executes it. She's in her first competitive year and we are expecting her to do well.
Thing is, she's been "chubby" since birth with a tall and stocky body and short thick legs. This "less-than-ideal" physique is very noticible in dance class next to the other tiny and slim and well-proportioned dancers. I'm very worried about when the inevitable happens and she starts noticing too; I'm worried about other dancer's comments; I'm worried about what this means for her dance future.
It has crossed my mind to find a different sport for her, but she is obviously talented in dance and LOVES it.
Any insights or advice out there? Moms with snr dancers, does physique play as big a role as I'm thinking?
High Silver Member
Registered: 1364144417 Posts: 189
Reply with quote #2
If she loves it and has talent, then let her continue to dance. Kids that age have lots of changes in their body when they hit puberty. I would never make my child quit something she loved to do because her body type didn't fit the image I have of a dancer in my mind. Plus she is 8, kids change their interests all the time.
High Gold Member
Registered: 1403814317 Posts: 918
Reply with quote #3
She's 8. Give it time and see what happens. If she keeps loving dance, she will probably up her hours in the next few years and that may make a difference. She could tire of dance and find something else she loves.
If your question is from a "does she have what it takes to be a classical pro ballerina?" Perspective, it's WAY too early to tell. Keep letting her enjoy dance.
If your questions is from a "concerned parent who wants to spare my kid heartache because she is "different" perspective, give it time and keep letting her enjoy dance.
Now, strictly speaking, if you're looking for advice on body type and professional ballet careers, then yes, at some point (much later) is DOES become important. It's more about proportions and physical limitations though.... My very slim, long limbed DD will never be a professional ballerina because her hips are simply too limited in their construction. Just a fact. She excels at more contemporary dancing where she can work in parallel more and work her(strong and fit) body to her advantage instead of trying to shape it into the classically extremely turned out lines.
High Bronze Member
Registered: 1405988352 Posts: 38
Reply with quote #4
I teach middle and high school. I agree - you never know how she's going to turn out. A kid's shape in 4th grade or even younger is not necessarily anything like their shape in 11th! (Although a look around at your family may give you a clue - my family has two basic shapes that the women wind up with - all of my sisters and cousins and I are clearly either one or the other!)
I would make sure that her STUDIO isn't making her feel any particular way about her shape. I'd look at the older dancers there - do they have a variety of shapes and sizes as well, or do they seem to wind up someplace else if they are not "ideal". I looked at that myself when thinking about switching studios - where she is, I see much more diversity of shape in the older dancers and that makes me more comfortable. The "other place", I only seem to see the tall and willowy look. I have no way of knowing why that is, but it does concern me when thinking about sending my child there.
High Platinum Member
Registered: 1266718806 Posts: 3,478
Reply with quote #5
Waaaayyyyy too young to tell!
She's only 8! Let her dance if that's what she wants to do right now! There is no way to know what her body type may be when she's older. Even if she doesn't get longer and leaner, I've seen plenty of amazing dancers who do not possess the "typical" dancer's body. While some of them may not have the natural dancer physique, they make it up for it with their technique, strength, artistry and passion. If I can offer a little personal suggestion...You would do better to stop focusing on her body-type. You need to really be wary of projecting your feelings to your DD! Relax and have fun with all of this...you and your DD will be better off if you can!
Registered: 1446524554 Posts: 11
Reply with quote #6
Thank you everyone! A lot of sound advice that I'm taking to heart. Just voicing my concerns and getting some objective opinions really helps relieve the tension I feel about this.
High Platinum Member
Registered: 1145546841 Posts: 4,851
Reply with quote #7
I'm just chiming in too add that she's only 8 and not to go too crazy with weight quite yet. But I'll also add as someone who really has to work to maintain my weight, NOW is the time to start with healthy eating habits. My daughter is built very similarly to me. Right around puberty we had to have a heart to heart about eating healthy and cutting down on the high calorie crap that preteens love. It was a very conflicting conversation to have, as I had an eating disorder for most of my late teens/early 20s. I didn't want to push her into obsessive dieting or exercise, but I didn't want her to wake up 20 lbs overweight either.
Just stress that eating healthier will make her feel better and ultimately she will be a more confident and better dancer.
Registered: 1239028130 Posts: 1,176
Reply with quote #8
go with your gut. if her body type is genetic, then there is not much you can do. if you suspect something else, see a doctor before going crazy.
i will tell you that my oldest was a chunk until she was 12. then her lithuanian genetics took over the sicilian ones and she got super thin. then puberty hit. you can see from my profile pic what she looks like now. bottom line. don't stop her from doing what she loves. if she wants to move on to something else she will.
High Gold Member
Registered: 1328554656 Posts: 723
Reply with quote #9
I agree that she's only 8. Besides, at our studio we have competitive dancers in all shapes and sizes. Don't sweat it.
Registered: 1358101986 Posts: 442
Reply with quote #10
Originally Posted by
Pirot Thank you everyone! A lot of sound advice that I'm taking to heart. Just voicing my concerns and getting some objective opinions really helps relieve the tension I feel about this.
This is EXACTLY my daughter. Only mine is 7. Some kids have already said stuff to her, but I think it's more of a jealousy thing - she gets lots of sassy featured type parts in dances. But she does still have her baby "chub". If I knew how to post a pic, I would! Lol.
Registered: 1446433813 Posts: 2
Reply with quote #11
My daughter is nearly 10 and she is "chubby" too! She does notice, especially during costume fittings. She doesn't cry about it or get upset, she is just different.
Now I have had weight issues my whole adult life so I do tell her no more than her other dance friends hear when it comes to snacks but she has seen me struggle with my weight and we talk openly about it.
Registered: 1394807833 Posts: 1,095
Reply with quote #12
We had some what I call "thicker" girls at dd's old studio. I use the word thicker because I don't know how else to describe them. They aren't fat by any means but don't have dd's stick figure - hmmm guess I should say normal women bodies lol. Anyway, they did really well in comps especially in tap.
My stepdaughters are bigger girls (thicker plus some extra weight) - one is in college and no longer dances. The other is a junior and still dances but gave up competitive this year to pursue singing. Both amazed me when they went on pointe. Despite their size, they were both amazingly graceful and really enjoyed dance. And as other said, you can't always tell at 8. The key is if she enjoys it let her continue.
Registered: 1388521820 Posts: 1,376
Reply with quote #13
She is only 8, and she has a passion for something that will keep her active and healthy. Try not to stress too much about it, as your daughter WILL pick up on it from you.
This seems completely unrelated, but I'm going somewhere with it so please bear with me. Over the weekend, I was selling items at a craft fair. One of the ladies across from me was selling beautiful crocheted items, along with her mom and her aunt. She (I'll call her Linda) was very talented. Linda was born with no arms. I was chatting with her aunt about her at the end of the show. Her aunt told me that Linda had just been offered a job as an advocate for the disabled because of all she had done to help those like her (Linda's son was also born with no arms, and I had talked with them about how Linda fought to get him the services he needed. I know what it is like to have to fight to get services for your child, but mine has learning disabilities, not physical ones). I was actually surprised that her aunt used the word "disabled". I told her that when I saw Linda, I saw no disability. I saw a VERY able woman who happened to have no arms. I truly did not think of her as disabled, when she clearly has a disability. My point is that this woman had almost no limits to what she could do, and I'm sure it is because of the way that her family looked at her particular disability. They saw a beautiful child who could not do things "like everyone else", so they worked to find other ways for her to do what she needed to do. My dd is VERY tiny - 14 years old and 4' 9". If someone teases her about her height, she tells them that good things come in small packages, or that she is a dime among pennies (both phrases taught to her by 5' 2" me!). I've also taught her to look at life with a sense of humor. As long as your daughter is not concerned/upset about how she looks, please let it go. If you are looking for advice on what to have your daughter say if she gets some "mean girl comments" about her body type, you can point out that she was born a certain way. She cannot control her short legs/body type any more than her skin, hair or eye color, and that she is beautiful no matter what. I think there is at least one thing that every person alive would like to change regarding their body. Curly-haired people want it straight. Straight-haired people want it curly. You get my point. Sorry for the long post, and I'm sorry if this came across as preachy. It wasn't my intention. I just got on a roll.
Double Diamond Member
Registered: 1184694329 Posts: 13,139
Reply with quote #14
crafty1 - I love your story. We recently had a news story here about a young black girl (13 years old) who was told by her principal (a black woman) that she had to tie her hair back or she couldn't come to class because it was distracting and unprofessional. The public was up in arms over the whole thing and the comment made a lot was that who the hell was this woman to tell this young girl that she was not perfect just the way God made her. I think it applies to a lot of situations. God made each of us differently and we should all be proud of that - short, tall, muscular, big hair - it doesn't matter.
Registered: 1446524554 Posts: 11
Reply with quote #15
Thanks everyone. DD's body-type is definitely genetical and will not change. Her proportions are a 'family trademark'. No one was more surprised than me when she took to dance!
I'm telling myself to "change what you can and accept what you can't change" and I am trying my best to teach her healthy eating habits. It still makes me sad that her talent and hard work alone will not be enough in later years. She is in a dance school with all body-types present and no pressure from the teachers. My concerns started recently when I started dreaming big for her(us).
I guess all this dancing will make her God-given body the best body it can be.
Registered: 1406223536 Posts: 1,339
Reply with quote #16
Well she may not be a professional ballerina but may have success in other forms of dance, so don't stop dreaming. My dd had a friend who was quite a bit overweight, even though she danced hard hours and hours everyday. It was just her genetic makeup and her metabolism and potentially some stress issues. She has a winning stage presence for a kid and I hope that translates to adulthood for her. They moved to CA a year or so ago and she is doing very well. She is booking gigs and is well liked in the dance community. It looks like primarily she is doing hip hop but she is an amazing tapper as well. Plus your daughter could end up being an amazing dance teacher and having her own studio. When she is older she could end up being a great choreographer. There are lots of roles for dance.
Registered: 1411254501 Posts: 20
Reply with quote #17
I'd say at 8 help her maximize her dance potential however possible and don't worry about her body shape. I mean, let's be honest - most little league baseball players do not become MLB players & most dancers will not make a career of it.
What I do (for what it is worth) in addition to helping my DD9 maximize her dance potential, I work to help her maximize her academic potential. My DD is a very talented dancer but 99.99% chance she isn't going to make her living doing dance. If you DD has a particular subject in which she excels I would concentrate on that just like you do dance. At our house DD9 focuses on dance and math ;-)
Registered: 1212174184 Posts: 1,679
Reply with quote #18
I agree that she may not be a professional ballerina, but at 8, if she loves dance, I wouldn't worry too much. It will keep her out of trouble and kids learn so many lessons from dance, like time management and responsibility, etc., etc. Dance is so much better than a lot of things kids do. And it's true, not many people actually "make it" in the professional dance world.
Registered: 1433531523 Posts: 446
Reply with quote #19
I wouldn't worry about her dance future just yet. She's only 8 and may grow out of her stockiness or may decide she'd like to do something else.
Also, would point out having the stereotypical body doesn't always make things easier. DD7 has the stereotypical slim, leggy body but has to really work hard to build the muscle necessary for some of the acro. I know acro's not necessary but she loves it. As far as other dancer's comments or her noticing, I wouldn't worry about that either. At our studio, dancers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Also, bear in mind there are other forms of dance than ballet that she could break into someday. There's no reason DD can't become a successful dancer just because she doesn't have the "correct" ballet body type. Didn't J-lo start out as a Fly Girl? I also notice when I've been to concerts and seen backup dancers or gone to musicals, those dancers often don't have the stereotypical body types, either. Especially in musical theater, that makes sense as they would need dancers of many body types for all the diverse character types.