Not Sure A Show Called ‘Big Ballet’ Is Going To Make Larger Girls Feel More Accepted In The Dance World

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shutterstock_129731741__1379267509_142.196.156.251Unless it’s a show about weight loss, I really don’t see the benefit in identifying a show based on the weight of its participants. If we’re trying to make a segment of the population feel more included, I don’t think this is really the way to go about it. Especially when that segment of the population is young girls.

Wayne Sleep, a former Royal Ballet dancer, has made a TV program that encourages larger dancers to continue with ballet. The show will select 18 dancers and will follow the training that will ultimately end with a 25-minute performance of Swan Lake which Sleep with choreograph. From The Telegraph:

Sleep, 65, had to watch his language on the programme. “I said ‘fat’ to start with, but, by God, did I get a bad response from my girls, so I said: ‘Lets clear up this situation. You are in this show because you’re big; there are other people who were big who applied, but they weren’t big enough to get onto this show – think how they feel.’ ”


“Think how they feel?” Yes, girls are always distraught when told they’re not “fat” enough for something. I’m not sure this guy should be leading a show that speaks to body image, when he doesn’t really have any sensitivity toward the issue.

I don’t think it’s any secret that ballet dancers come in one physique and one physique only. It’s great that he’s reaching out to larger girls, but will this actually be a show about dancing – or a show about big girls dancing? We seem to have an innate need to point out when people are larger, even though it’s totally obvious and oh my God why are we doing this? Did anyone ever see Dance Your Ass Off or More to Love? Ugh. I hope these girls are made to feel better about themselves – not worse.

(photo: Stolbov Pavel/ Shutterstock)