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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Balancing the Scale on Perceptions of Body Weight

Last month, Alastair Macaulay, dance critic for The New York Times, was less than graceful in his review of the New York City Ballet's production of "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker" when he expressed his opinion that two of the dancers were less than "ideal" for body size. Macaulay reported that Jenifer Ringer, who portrayed the Sugar Plum Fairy, "looked as if she'd eaten one sugar plum too many" and that Jared Angle, who was the Cavalier, "seems to have been sampling half the sweet realm." His comment regarding Jenifer Ringer, who has been open about her past personal battle with both anorexia and compulsive eating, caused an outcry from some of Macaulay's readership, who perceived his comment to be disrespectful and insensitive in light of Ringer's history of eating disorders.

Macaulay defended his position in a subsequent article in which he pointed out that a ballet dancer's appearance is integral to the profession. He stated that "ballet demands sacrifice in its pursuit of widely accepted ideals of beauty .....[and, therefore,] if you want to make your appearance irrelevant to criticism, do not choose ballet as a career."

Fault lies in this mindset. It undermines the serious health risks that an eating disorder poses. Anorexia is not a lifestyle for which you choose to make "sacrifices." It is a disease to battle.

During an interview with the Today Show's Ann Curry, Ringer stated that she is now at a healthy weight. In my opinion, to suggest that she "has eaten one too many sugar plums" is irresponsible.  It implies that health should be jeopardized for the sake of appearance. At Ringer's current weight, if she were to eat less, she could, theoretically, drop to an unhealthy low weight.  As Ringer noted in the Today Show interview, when you are too thin, you are physically weak and, therefore, cannot perform well.

Macaulay shirks the blame of his stance onto the profession of ballet, stating that he may be severe, "but ballet, as dancers know, is more so." Perhaps this can serve as a wake-up call that "ideal" beauty should arise from a state of good health, not from unbearable sacrifices that compromise it.  Ringer summed it up well when she told Curry that "in the New York City Ballet, we have every body type you can imagine...They can all dance like crazy, they are all gorgeous. I think dance should be more of a celebration of that--seeing these beautiful women with these different bodies all dancing to this gorgeous music and that is what should be celebrated."

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Anonymous Rumi said...

Professional athletes and dancers go beyond health and on of the reasons behinds this is because they compete. The Olympic principle that more important is to participate than to win is long ago forgotten. There always will be people who criticize no matter how hard somebody put an effort. In my opinion it is more important the road than the final destination.

December 19, 2010 at 6:03 AM 

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