Quotation from Turning Pointe, How a New Generation of Dancers Is Saving Ballet from Itself

On Literary Hub there is a very good excerpt called The Toll of Perfectionism: On the Physical and Mental Health of Ballet Dancers by Chloe Angyal:

In 2003, researchers at Duke University surveyed students about the campus culture, particularly as it was experienced by young women. What they found was that Duke women felt enormous pressure to be socially active—party, drink, date, and hook up—while also getting high grades, participating in extracurriculars, and being beautiful.
They were supposed to do all of this without seeming to try at all, without showing the strain, without breaking a sweat. Failure was unacceptable, but so was the appearance of trying to succeed. The researchers dubbed this set of absurd and gendered expectations “effortless perfection.”
So at the beginning of the 21st century women were still expected to be antiseptically perfect and freaky-deaky at the same time. Some things never change. Hush-hush still in effect.

Sound like the beginning to a long-term anxiety experience to me. And that is just a part of the introduction.  It goes on to talk about the expectations placed on professional dancers and how that can lead to all kinds of mental health issues.

I also learned that there are different types of perfection, and yes, there is a destructive form of perfectionism. And it is no secret that the world of professional ballet is not body inclusive. 

The actual book is called Turning Pointe, how a new generation of dancers is saving ballet. You can get more info about the book at the Bold Type Books website. There are also multiple places to get an audiobook - check out Hatchette Audio for alternative sources.

There is a review of the book at the New York Journal of Books web site. 

Some of you are gonna ask, "what has this got to do with anxiety?"

Legit question.

Legit answer: locking an art or experience into a small segment of performers damages people. 
Those that view the performance and think this is the only way that dance, specifically ballet, can exist. 

The other people that want to participate, have the talent and are told, "No, you don't fit the artificially constructed frame work." 

You do not need a tutu to dance. And the freaking Nutcracker isn't the only ballet that has ever been created.

The business and gate keeping function of ballet has produced a crap ton of anxiety and eating disorders. Not to mention keeping women and other creators out of the decision making process.

So yeah, if we want to recognize that there are multiple sources for anxiety in our society, which includes sports and the arts, then there is much work to do.

Just in case: 

If you need support contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.


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