The Dark Side in the Ballet Industry

Arianna Bultsma, Staff Writer

Ballet is a beautiful form of art made with the use of your body. People all over the world go to theaters to see performances of athletes telling a story with their bodies. Yes, ballet does have beauty to it there is also a much darker side that performers go through behind the scenes. I grew up dancing throughout my childhood and for a bit now in my teen years. I do find myself lucky to have been put in a dance environment where I did not go through any of the negative experiences that the ballet world can bring to the dancers. Though I did not go through anything that affected me negatively there are still many other dancers who sadly went through traumatic and toxic situations while being ballet dancers.

 Ballet dancers all over for a long time have dealt with physical and mental distress. Some of the negative things ballet dancers can go through are having abusive teachers, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Having an abusive dance teacher is a very tough situation for a dancer to go through at any age. These teachers can bring different kinds of abuse to the dancers. Dancers can endure physical and mental abuse from their teachers. When a dance teacher is abusive they might overwork the dancers, verbally attack them for the way their bodies look or how they are dancing, and might compare their dancers in an unhealthy matter. In some cases, it can also be harder for the dancers who are receiving this type of teaching to leave the environment because dancers might not even realize the environment they are in is toxic until they are older and by that time dancers might find it more difficult to move studios and feel welcomed by everyone there.  Eating disorders are a big issue in our society, especially among ballet dancers. This stems from society’s ideal image they have set for ballet dancers. People tend to think of ballet dancers with skinny bodies causing different body image issues for dancers. It is a fact that no one has the same body as another person and by setting such an image for ballet dancers, the dancers hearing and seeing this from society can cause harm to their lives with eating and body image. With ballet being someone’s passion and having society throw such an image into their faces and mind they might believe they can’t truly be a ballet dancer without looking at the part society has given them. One more negative aspect that could stem from ballet is compulsive obsessive disorders. When someone has OCD sometimes they get the tendency to do something over and over again. Being a ballet dancer you constantly want to be a perfect dancer and make sure your dances look perfect. The audiences at ballets also come with the expectations of seeing perfect dancers causing dancers to gain the tendency of having OCD. 

Yes, dance is a beautiful form of art and something wonderful to watch and be a part of when dancing. It is still important to be aware of the negative aspects that come with the ballet world and to speak on this topic rather than being silent and turning a shoulder to the topic.