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classydance

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Reply with quote  #51 
Thanks Phx,

So, yes, the evidence supports the statement I made.  

That's where Larissa is coming from and likely many Vaganova and Russian trained dancers. Just an FYI.

Larissa will have kids who fit that body type in the final round, placing, and in all of her galas.   That's her idea of a dancer.  

Interestingly,  they have this "see the nutritionist" box that they check on some score sheets. . . .More BS to fuel the incessant flow of double messages that ballet dancers get and likely an attempt to be politically correct for the Americans who spend money  by the $1000s to send their kids to her competition. 
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #52 
Interesting links.  The bottom 'don't shoot the messenger" link suggests my own dd would need to weigh about 110.  She's about 118 now.  I don't think she'd look skeletal at 110 but outside of the ballet world she'd be told to eat a cheeseburger.  This focus on a number seems pretty stupid to me though.  110 on one 5'7" dancer is not going to look the same as 110 on all 5'7" dancers.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #53 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Thanks Phx115.  Wow.  I followed the links - thanks for taking the time to post them.  If those are the body types being rewarded, then skeletal is probably the right term.  My very thin but healthy looking daughter would have to lose nearly 10 pounds to get to the Vaganova requirements.  If she were to aspire to that change the majority of weight change would be in lost muscle, which presumably would impair her dancing.  I would also expect that she would lose her period if she got that low providing biological evidence of unhealthfully low weight (for her).  




Sadly, I was just looking up normal BMI information - but came up with links in relation to ballet - to show my daughter that in relation to 11 year olds of her height she's in the 15-20 percentile for weight. Not at all fat as she is now claiming. Ever since the NBS audition and YAGP she's been asking basically every day if she's fat. Sheesh! Puberty hasn't even hit yet. 

Fortunately, we are having discussions about healthy food choices, etc; and that the ballet world will never really change. However, there are lots of options for dancers without THE ballet body.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #54 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
Interesting links.  The bottom 'don't shoot the messenger" link suggests my own dd would need to weigh about 110.  She's about 118 now.  I don't think she'd look skeletal at 110 but outside of the ballet world she'd be told to eat a cheeseburger.  This focus on a number seems pretty stupid to me though.  110 on one 5'7" dancer is not going to look the same as 110 on all 5'7" dancers.


Exactly!
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #55 

I think it's better to actually LOOK at the dancers who are working in professional companies today and not just the big names. Look at who is actually getting paid to dance.  There are more dancers in regional companies than in the bigger, big name companies (just because there are more regional and even local level companies). What do they actually look like? That's a better comparison than looking at the dancers who are at the YAGP finals. Many of those girls have not completed puberty. I'm sure we've all seen some very favored dancers (whether at home or Insta-famous or what have you) who have ended up with very different bodies later on. Some of them had somewhat delayed puberty, maintaining the desired somewhat child like physique even longer. And, as already mentioned, the "Vaganova look" is favored for various reasons. 
 
 I have shared before that when dd was at the Bolshoi once for a summer program, they actually weighed them as part of the admissions process (that we did not know was going to happen) and also used that weight to see who would be permitted to take partnering. I saw the charts and knew there was NO way dd was going to take partnering. Wrong! She suspects her teacher changed a number. No way was her BMI 16! But we are also talking about very exclusive academies where admission is completely different than in the US. Those kids in Russia are selected around age 10 for their body type and facility and perhaps, very basic musicality. Everything else is taught to them. I believe they will even look at the parents! (I didn't read all the articles yet, just the one from Alexandra Ortiz, who is currently a student at PA Ballet). It still amazes me that they accepted her at all as her body had not yet changed into what it is today. 

Anyway, it is all also extra interesting to me as I have a dancer who actually tried her hand at company auditions this year for the first time. She went to small auditions, invitation only auditions and large cattle calls. She clearly saw at the large cattle calls (100-over 400 dancers) that those cut first were usually of a similar build. Sometimes it was all the tall ones who were let go, sometimes it was the short ones. (I should add that in those large cattle calls, they may only be looking for one or two dancers or even none.. it's insane). Without sharing her numbers, I do not think of her as the frail, waif-like body type. She is slender, definitely thinner than the average woman her age. Some of you have seen her more recent photos on Instagram. I can think of one company class style audition (ie an audition where the class was with the company, not a random large cattle call) where she knew she wasn't going to be hired because she was actually smaller than the company members and not just in height! She said she felt small and waif-like there. At 5'4", she's finding herself to be one of the smallest at the companies that have actually invited her to come out for an in person audition (which is interesting because you would think the shorter companies would be more interested but that's a whole other discussion!)  

Anyway, she has been deemed to have an "adequate" body type for a professional career from numerous sources. But, if you saw her at 13, I'm not sure you would say that.  Even at 16, when her body began to change, she wasn't quite there yet. She feels that the changes in her body have come from her actual dance training and, most importantly, her cross training outside the studio. 

We do know that if dd were to lose 5 lbs, she'd be dancing on dangerous ground. When she was sick this past fall (first a GI bug and then a terrible sore throat) and lost weight, most of her teachers were concerned and told her to go eat some hamburgers. [smile] (Not exactly, I might have been the one to tell her to get a hamburger and fries! LOL). Her Bolshoi trained teacher, on the other hand, told her how great she looked. She barely had the strength to get through class and did not have the strength to get through the entire day (9-5).  If that's where she needed to be, it would not be happening. 

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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #56 
Quote:
Originally Posted by classydance
Thanks Phx,

So, yes, the evidence supports the statement I made.  

That's where Larissa is coming from and likely many Vaganova and Russian trained dancers. Just an FYI.

Larissa will have kids who fit that body type in the final round, placing, and in all of her galas.   That's her idea of a dancer.  

Interestingly,  they have this "see the nutritionist" box that they check on some score sheets. . . .More BS to fuel the incessant flow of double messages that ballet dancers get and likely an attempt to be politically correct for the Americans who spend money  by the $1000s to send their kids to her competition. 


And it was Shelley King's idea of a dancer before she passed away.  This is not new.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #57 
I know what you mean Tendumom. When I was in high school if I ever dropped below a BMI of 19 for sickness etc. I was dizzy and weak. That was the very bottom of healthy for me. I suspect the same will be true for my dd when she finishes growing. She is very pretty to look at, but long and strong (not waif) come to mind.

I'm starting to think dance's version of location, location, location in real estate is genetics, genetics, genetics. Remodel or train all you want, but in the end one (essential) variable cannot be changed.
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beetle1

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Reply with quote  #58 
I saw many of the final round juniors. I didn't think anyone looked unhealthy. Did I miss something? My daughter is considered "thinner" but she eats 4-6 times a day and practices 6-7 days a week. I think it's just that in many cases.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #59 
I do think it's important to remember that kids come in different shapes and sizes.  And naturally super skinny is not necessarily all that uncommon in the 9-13 yo set.  More often than not it's just a phase.  My two youngest are like that now.  In fact, amongst ourselves we often joke that my 11 yo looks like one of those Ethiopian orphans you see on tv.  The kid eats like a pig but he has a crazy metabolism and is growing like a weed.  I guess my point is just that perhaps there shouldn't be the automatic assumption that a super skinny young dancer is always super skinny on purpose. Tbh I've seen that assumption create some serious unnecessary drama on a few occasions.  

Just my two cents.
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rmarti123

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Reply with quote  #60 
"I guess my point is just that perhaps there shouldn't be the automatic assumption that a super skinny young dancer is always super skinny on purpose."

👍
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pirouettemom

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Reply with quote  #61 

I noticed one girl who placed in the junior finals is not super skinny - but she is well known and apparently already guest stars and stars in galas at the age of 14.  So maybe YAGP does not care as much if you have the Russian-ideal physique if you are well known/'famous'?
From the recent Vaganova Academy exams - I believe these students are in their most advanced class.  The girls look healthy enough to me and not particularly skeletal.  I think these students will be dancing in Russian or European companies soon.

https://vk.com/vaganovaacademy?z=photo-83893407_456239762%2Falbum-83893407_00%2Frev

 

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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #62 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phx115
Perhaps, just like observing works of art, our backgrounds and tastes (maybe biases), determine what is thin to one person is skeletal to another. 1. One of the juniors that won a special award in NY, is skeletal, IMO. I've walked right be her at regionals. To me, it was frightening to see. She's an amazing dancer, but she would be just as incredible with some extra weight. Obviously, her teachers and the judges seem to approve this. I'm posting this link. It is the series of pictures from a recent ballet competition during Round 1, Primary division. Unfortunately, testing the link gives all of the pics. There is one in partIcular that illustrates, to me at least, the difference between skeletal and thin. PLEASE pm me if anyone's child or relative is in the pic and I will delete the link immediately. http://photos.smackarts.com/p86124510


Was there a particular photo you that was "skeletal"?  There are a ton of pictures on that page and I wasn't sure which one you were referring to.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #63 
Of course, that's why genetics, genetics, genetics.  If you are naturally super skinny, then it is healthy for you.  For my dd to cut down to the Vaganova numbers she would not be healthy (and lack of her period at any lower weight would prove the point).  

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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #64 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Of course, that's why genetics, genetics, genetics.  If you are naturally super skinny, then it is healthy for you.  For my dd to cut down to the Vaganova numbers she would not be healthy (and lack of her period at any lower weight would prove the point).  



Yes.  I only pointed that out because Phx seemed to be suggesting/assuming that the very thin girl in whatever photo she was referring to was perhaps "trying" to be that thin.  And that her family/coaches were in support of that. 
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #65 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phx115


If you scroll down it is picture number 74, from Round 1 primary.


Yup.  Looks like a female version of my 11 yo son [smile]
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classydance

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Reply with quote  #66 
I think that it's really not possible to know why anyone is underweight (preferred term).

I agree some kids are naturally quite thin.  I was and got all kind of those comments. It didn't feel good. 

In the dance world you have to kind of know what an organization is favoring or wants and then know how you fit it.  The point is YAGP is coming from a very stringent Russian view of the ballet body.  Yes, kids are selected into this pre-puberty at age 10 but there is so much that is not known until after a child hits puberty.  Dancers in Bolshoi and Vaganova schools are rank ordered on the barre by weight and some are routinely told that they are fat by instructors. 

So, YAGP is going to favor that but fortunately many American companies do not.  It's just not cool with Americans.  It does conjure up words like "skeletal" and audiences don't want to pay for that. 

It's kind of like the Rockettes. .. Want to be a Rockette?  You need to be 5'6 and actually they don't want you too skinny. (They feed those women royally during season). 

I will just say again that we know many of the Jrs who made top 12 this year. Some have ED.  Some are naturally skinny.  Some are restricting a great deal.  And it's not always the kids who LOOK skinny.  Some studios really have rampant ED that is driven by instructors. So, ALL of the statements here are accurate about the collection of Jrs that we know (about 9/12). 

So, YAGP favors a certain body type.  This will likely not change.  It is a business.  There are many YAGP phenoms who are out of work now at 22. If you are going to hang with the organization and you don't fit the body type don't expect to be promoted no matter how good a dancer you are. 

Good lesson for the dance world. It's their game.  Learn the rules and then play where and when you want.  I wouldn't sacrifice my DD's long term physical or psychological health. 

And, well, probably not cool to post pictures of kids and use them as examples.  Do pull that.  Doesn't matter if we know the kid.  It's SOMEONE's kid and we would each be so hurt if someone did that to our kid. 
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pirouettemom

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Reply with quote  #67 

There seems to be a lot of focus on YAGP Juniors - seems like more so than seniors!  Maybe because they are still quite young but amazing in technique, maybe because some of them are active on social media and well known.

Success in YAGP Juniors hasn't necessarily meant long term success in the past - some of the top winners in past years are no longer dancing.  Some went away young to professional schools and came back home and aren't doing much in dancing.  I think some look quite different as they got older.  I think it is kind of crazy though if YAGP standards for thinness are stricter than the standards at Vaganova School.

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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #68 
She doesn't look skeletal to me. She looks like I did when I was 10.  I was 5'9" in 6th grade (12) and weighed about 90 lbs.  I ate like a football player.  Some people are just very thin at that age when they grow up way faster than they grow out and develop muscle and bulk.  She looks taller than many of those small kids.  I really detest labels - but everyone is entitled to an opinion.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #69 
Quote:
Originally Posted by classydance


And, well, probably not cool to post pictures of kids and use them as examples.  Do pull that.  Doesn't matter if we know the kid.  It's SOMEONE's kid and we would each be so hurt if someone did that to our kid. 


Well said! I will pull the links.

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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #70 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle


Was there a particular photo you that was "skeletal"?  There are a ton of pictures on that page and I wasn't sure which one you were referring to.


I'm deleting the picture link altogether. Do you mind pulling your post, since it still contains the link? Thanks.
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jwsqrdplus2

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Reply with quote  #71 
Another one who was super skinny during and after puberty.  I was probably 5'1" and 90lbs around age 13.  I was eating everything in sight, but I was also swimming 3-5 hours a day at that age.  My mom was a teacher at the same middle school I attended, and several of her colleagues (and my actual teachers) came to her a different times concerned that I might have an ED.  The reality was: super active + super metabolism made it nearly impossible to gain weight no matter how much I ate.  And competitive swimsuits show everything just like leos do!  I hit my final growth spurt late, and by the time I was 15, I was 5'6.5" and 105 lbs.  I didn't get my period until just after my 14th birthday, and I wasn't even close to regular until early 20s.

Back when I joined the military, there was a minimum weight for your height as well as a maximum.  Minimum weight for my height was 111.  I had my physical between Jr and Sr year of high school.  That summer, my mom put me on a "diet" of milkshakes, mashed potatoes and bananas to increase my caloric intake.  I got my weight up to 113, qualified for the AF, and I was even able to maintain it the rest of that summer swimming season.  In fact, I had a great season.  Maybe because I was a little more buoyant, and I could concentrate on moving through the water rather than fighting to stay on top (my neutral buoyancy was about 18"-2' feet below the surface of the water at the time).  Maybe it was just my peak moment!  When I stopped swimming for the 6 weeks between summer and fall seasons, and went back to my normal eating habits, the weight came right back off again.

Never once did I actually have an ED.  In fact, now that time and age have caught up with me and my metabolism, I look back on those days wistfully!  And I watch both my girls eat me out of house and home and look very thin!  I do worry about Ash going into dance as a career since it is so body-conscious.  Fortunately, all along, her DTs have modeled healthy and strong bodies being fueled by proper nutrition, some skinnier than others, but all healthy.  I have also taught Ash how to cook healthy meals, and she does a great job with it so far.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #72 
In that photo, #74, I thought the girl BEHIND the one in front looked way too thin.  279?  So I'll agree with ya there.  But, in general I don't think that most or even many of the dancers are too thin.  Thin, yes, but not way too thin.  But some definitely are.

I looked up Misty Copeland's stats and it said she was 5'2" and 108.  I don't know if that was an old article or not, but that is 21 pounds heavier than the 87 pounds required on that Russian ballet chart.
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pirouettemom

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Reply with quote  #73 
I don't know how strictly the Russian schools follow the weight chart - I posted a link to a photo of students who are about to graduate (or maybe they are graduating next year) and they don't look very, very thin. I think they look good.
Misty is used as an example of someone who is breaking/challenging the typical ballet mold. That said, I believe when she got her corps contract with ABT, she was very slim and looked different than she does today. Who knows - maybe she wouldn't have gotten an ABT contract with her current body type?!
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #74 
DS is 21.  He hasn't danced in 2 years.  At his last check up he was 6' and 125 lbs.  He is ridiculously thin.  Pants are a 28x32 and he still needs a belt.  And even though he is vegan he eats like a horse.  It's just how he's made.  As a 4 year old he was just over 2' and weight 20 lbs the day he started kindergarten.  I constantly got comments from people about how "sickly" he look.  He was sick but that had only a little to do with his weight.  It's just him.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #75 
@tappinmom, he sounds like my kid brother.... until he got married! Seriously did not "fill out" until after 30. [smile] 
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