Before you read I just want to say that I am not an expert, everything I say is from my own experience.
I was a dancer for many years and I stopped in 2013/14 and that was only because my class stopped so I dare say if it had continued I still would have been dancing.
I have been reflecting upon my dance career and one thing that got me thinking was about body image and my diet.
Now diet and my dance was never really an issue, I have always eaten properly and never really had a problem. I always ate well and know what to eat and when.
But my body image was something that did affect me, not heavily but it was something that worried me and I was aware of. Especially during my A-Levels I worried about what I looked like, with the battle of my skin, acne and my body shape.
My peers were all flawless and had perfect skin and perfect bodies and I sometimes felt that I looked the odd one out. It didn’t help that sometimes my dance teachers and peers asked had I lost weight and I did not think that I had but I probably did with all the stress during my schooling years.
But from then on, I always thought that I needed to maintain this weight and this skinny look.
I also remember the time that my teacher was talking about costumes for a dance show and she’d look at our group and say outloud a name and that they had boobs and then she got to me (and at this time I was very flat chested, I was a late bloomer) and went silent. I did not have boobs so I did not need a bigger top.
I was embarrassed, I was a late grower and it took me ages to get to wearing a proper bra but I was so conscious that I was the same age as my group but felt that I looked younger due to acne and boobs.
There is one thing that upset me and I still remember to this day, when I was told my nails were too long for dance and I could hurt someone. So I had to take one of the dancers nail cutters and cut my nails off. This really upset me, my nails are long and I love them and I love painting them so when I had to cut them off, I felt rubbish for the whole day- I did not feel like me anymore. Like I had to cut off a part of me to fit in.
Maybe it is a good thing that I am not in dance but I dare say the industry has changed and is more accepting.
I did love dance and I still love watching it, it just in my experience I did not always have a good time with my looks and the way I felt.
I just want to say to you now that I am in a good place with my body and my looks and this experience was years ago.