Stereotypes In The Dance Industry

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Dancers are constantly being scrutinized, whether it be by the dance industry, media or by themselves. As a dancer I constantly face hardships with predisposed stereotypes from both the dance industry and from today’s society that I am pressured to conform to. The dance industry pressures dancers to be strong in terms of their physical appearance and be committed to a life of fitness. The media opposes these stereotypes and instead focuses on all dancers being ballerinas and maintaining this extremely thin and weak façade. The difference in the labels for dancers portrayed in media as well as in the dance world has caused myself to be judged in both positive and negative ways in accordance to these two very different communities. As a result…show more content…
The dance industry really stresses that, “the dancer is her own instrument; she uses her body to express her art form with mere motion.” (Oliver 122). Thus, the dance industry labels dancers as people who are avid members of the fitness community and are extremely knowledgeable about nutrition. With this stereotype comes the expectation that dancers are required to take care of their bodies and adequately fuel them in order to maintain the “ideal” body that is formulated by the dance industry. Moving forward, the dance industry is a tough industry and from this arises the stereotype that dancers have to be motivated and be prepared to overcome many of the challenges they may face throughout their career. Unlike in the media, the dance industry labels dancers as hard workers who are willing to put in the time and effort in order to further their careers. Lastly, the dance community portrays dancers as people who walk and dance with a certain quality of grace and confidence. Dancers are labelled as people that are proud of their bodies as well as their abilities not only in the studio but in everyday life as well. As a result dancers are people who stand up tall and incorporate this confidence into everyday…show more content…
It is a constant struggle to remind myself to not fall into the predisposed stereotypes of what it means to be a dancer in the eyes of society and media. Often I am judged because I have a muscular body that does not fit with the norms of ballerinas in the media. Other people often think that I must have a lower skill level or resort to extreme measures in order to try to fit in with the societal norms of dancers. There have been many times in my life where I have been negatively influenced and I start to try to fit into the archetype that represents dancers in media. It is often difficult to remain confident with my body and not allow the judgement of others on my body affect me when I know how the “thin, delicate and vulnerable looking…” (Oliver 122), body is what is regarded as “beautiful” in society. Having a muscular body tends to intimidate as well as confuse others because women and dancers according to the media are meant to be extremely thin and delicate. The media and how other people portray me because of the media has definitely had a negative impact on my self-esteem as both a woman and a dancer. However, when I am surrounded by people in the dance community I am judged in a more positive way, where people understand that the success that I have reached in my career is because of my hard work and dedication. It is understood that my body is a carefully

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