ballet · Mental Health & Character Building

Ballet: The Hardships

I’m going to discuss ballet problems, stigmas in ballet and issues that can arise from doing ballet.

When you hear the word ballet, what do you think off?

Do you think of anorexia, stick thin girls?

Do you think of ballet feet and tutus?

I bet you never think of perhaps there is male dancers.

And perhaps the dancers are under  5 ft 5.

I am 5ft2 and I am a professional ballet dancer. I have a shattered coccyx bone and my Tarsal Navicular bone on my left foot is fractured. I have two toes that won’t go down due to a break from ill fitting shoes.

I don’t wear tutus but instead I wear loose dresses. I tend to wear my hair in a French plait instead of a ballet bun, unless in an event or performance.

However I do have an eating disorder. As does my friend, who too is a ballet dancer, however he is male. He is 6ft and is one of the strongest people I have ever met.

My feet are not ones of beauty, I have blister, bruising and swelling. My calves and thighs are formed oddly as the muscle we use most is very unusual. My feet automatically point out the way. My arm muscles are strong at the shoulders and forearm but weak at the wrists. I oddly have a very strong neck, which is partly to do with B-boying which I do on the side.

But still I manage to make a living doing something I love. I know how to appear as light as a feather or as heavy as an elephant. I can make my body bend and turn. I can hear music and rhythm where ever I am . I know I can dance. I feel it, in my bones. It is my passion as much as it is my hardship. I love it, it is my home and no matter what my pain is when I get home, I still go back for more. I am never truly happy until I hear the music.

When I can’t sleep or am scared I go to the studio, put on my favourite songs and dance. Then I become free and finally soar and fly and sometimes it feels like I will never land.



Tosia Altman



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