Creating Awareness in Dance Nutrition and Body Image by Adrienne Stevens, EdD

Chasing the Sylph: How the Quest for Perfection Impacts Dancers’ Body Image, Nutrition, and Health
Adrienne Stevens, EdD
Founder, Performing Health
New York City, USA

More than any other performing artists, and certainly more than most athletes, dancers are at high risk for poor nutrition, eating disorders, and preventable, career-ending injuries. To address these physical issues, it’s necessary to examine the underlying causes. And to do that, we need to understand the dancer’s frame of mind.

During 15 – 20 years of intensive training, dancers pursue an elegant, meta-human physique that can soar through the air, appearing almost weightless when in motion. The dancers’ ideal is nothing less than perfection, and of course perfection isn’t attainable. I refer to this elusive quest as “chasing the sylph.”

While dancers strive to achieve this ethereal — and highly subjective — state of grace, athletes are usually working toward much more earthly, measurable goals: faster speed, for example, or number of points scored in a competitive match. Whereas an athlete can achieve “personal best” or break a new record, a dancer will never attain artistic perfection. Within this paradigm, an athlete literally receives laurels; a dancer constantly faces defeat. The dancer’s defeatist mindset is further exacerbated by the knowledge that a professional career is usually over by the time he or she reaches forty years of age.

That’s why “chasing the sylph” has direct implications for a variety of health concerns among dancers, including inadequate nutrition, disordered eating, body dysmorphic disorder, depression, dancing while injured (which, in turn, leads to more severe injury), and an unwillingness to follow standard medical advice.

Today most medical professionals are unschooled in the characteristics that set dancers apart from the mainstream patient population. At the same time, dancers who are in dire need of clinical care turn instead to fellow dancers, friends, dance teachers and the media for medical advice. As the emerging field of dance medicine grows and develops, we can expect to see improvements on both of these fronts. In the meantime, new strategies are needed now to protect and preserve dancers’ health. First and foremost, nutrition education must become a standard component within every dancer’s education. Teachers and parents need training on how to identify symptoms of disordered eating. The dance community as a whole would benefit from open dialogue about injury prevention and mental health.

As an organization that is firmly grounded in both artistic and clinical expertise, Performing Health looks forward to playing a meaningful role in all of these endeavors.



18 Responses to “Creating Awareness in Dance Nutrition and Body Image by Adrienne Stevens, EdD”

  1. bisnis setelah pensiun

    Woaһ! І’m really enjoying the template/thеme of this
    website. It’s simрle, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” bᥱtween ussabіlity andd visual
    appeal. I must say you have dоne a great job with
    this. Аdditionally, the blog loads very quick foor me on Firefox.
    Superb Blog!


    Economiϲal and durable, onne triɑl at Texas Tecch tested the
    resiliency of this waⅼl by firing misѕiles on the same assembly
    over thirty times[2]. Instead you’ll be aЬle tо
    build benches which can be doubled up as storage areas.
    Another emerging technology in tornado and hurricane resistant
    buildіng design are structural insulated panels (SΙPs).

  3. BestEugenia

    I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you
    can earn extra cash every month because you’ve got hi quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for: Ercannou’s essential adsense alternative

  4. BestRudolph

    I have noticed you don’t monetize your blog, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn extra cash every month.
    You can use the best adsense alternative for any type of website (they
    approve all websites), for more info simply search in gooogle: boorfe’s tips
    monetize your website

  5. ferragamo sale

    I not to mention my buddies were found to be following the great tips and hints located on the blog and quickly developed an awful suspicion I never thanked the blog owner for those strategies. All the young men are actually consequently thrilled to see all of them and now have without a doubt been using these things. Appreciation for really being indeed considerate as well as for figuring out some quality ideas most people are really wanting to understand about. My personal honest regret for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  6. bape hoodie

    I just wanted to write a simple message to thank you for the lovely hints you are giving out here. My considerable internet research has at the end been compensated with excellent knowledge to go over with my two friends. I would assert that many of us website visitors are truly fortunate to live in a great network with very many awesome professionals with useful solutions. I feel very much lucky to have seen your webpage and look forward to really more thrilling minutes reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.

  7. AOL download gold

    The article shared by you is a marvellous piece of information which has helped me and will definitely help many users. Please keep on sharing such useful information in the future.

  8. QuickBooks Payroll Support

    You must just provide a get in touch with over the quickbooks payroll support number to discuss the situation that you are going through.You can just contact our support number and get instant support from technicians department.

  9. aol desktop gold software

    AOL Desktop Gold is a software developed by AOL with an endless list of features. It is supported on Windows and Mac platforms. Access your AOL Email for searching and browsing, you can also do many things in one place. All you need is an Internet connection. AOL Desktop Gold download can be done from the official website of AOL.



Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Verplichte velden zijn gemarkeerd met *