What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Weight Problem April 6, 2015

When I went to audition for the college I attended, it was quite the ordeal. And not just because I had to fly cross-country all by myself or because I was auditioning for one of the best schools in the country. The school had arranged for me to stay with two dance majors while I auditioned. My mother and I baked cookies for the girls as a thank you. The looks on their faces should have been enough to warn me away. They looked at my cookies like I had brought demon spawn into their room. Then there was a little bit of moaning before they each took a bite of a cookie and shoved the rest on a high shelf out of sight and easy reach.

The next day was the audition. First there was a giant, one-hour warm up. Then an hour each of ballet, tap, and jazz before lunch. By the time we got to lunch, I was starving! I mean, I had been dancing for four hours. There was a buffet for the auditionees. I made myself a sandwich and had some fruit and chips to boot. Remember, I had been dancing for FOUR hours. I went to the bathroom, and there was a huge line. Not to pee, but to puke. The dancers were PUKING up their lunch!

I ran away and found another bathroom and peed in peace before it was time for the solo auditions. We all had to dance on the stage, exit stage right, and go down through the hall back out into the house. I danced my little heart out in my solo and exited stage right where they told me to take off my shoes. At first I thought they had decided that I didn’t deserve to dance ever again, and then I saw the scale. Off  the stage and onto the scale, literally.

When I received my acceptance letter a few weeks later, it had my weight right there on it. I thought, naively I will admit, that as there are many places in the dance world where eating disorders are somewhat common, the school shouldn’t be blamed for the mentality of it’s auditionees.

Oh how wrong I was. To be continued in the “why I will kick you in the shins if you tell me what to eat” series.


9 Responses to “The Weight Problem”

  1. avwalters Says:

    My nephew was part of a private arts school dance program, and then on to college on a dance scholarship. It wasn’t so bad for the young men, but the ‘girls’ were constantly dieting, purging and taking up smoking–all to lose weight. This wasn’t just dancer culture, the faculty supported this mental illness, all in the pursuit of the uber-lithe dancers that the public has come to expect.

  2. AthenaC Says:

    Oh my word – that’s horrifying!

  3. For a big foodie like me, this is a truly horrifying tale!

  4. […] sure, I was a little concerned about the fact that they had put my weight on my acceptance letter (for part one of this blog series where that is explained please click here), but it was a great […]

  5. […] parts one, two, and three, please click the appropriate […]

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