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Ballet dancing and the body extreme: A qualitative exploration of adolescent women’s eating regimes

Moore, Annie (2012) Ballet dancing and the body extreme: A qualitative exploration of adolescent women’s eating regimes. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The current research looked at adolescent female ballet dancers, their eating patterns and body image. Literature in this area has shown that dancers have a higher risk of developing eating disorders than non-dancers due to the unnaturally thin dancer stereotype. Six dancers (aged 16-17 years) were interviewed regarding aspects of dance culture, such as dancewear and mirrored studios, and external pressures from teachers, parents and peers that impact body image and eating habits. Features of calorie intake and body satisfaction were also explored. Interviews were recorded and transcribed for use during thematic analysis. The main themes identified were inner battle to lose weight, unrealistic expectations regarding calorie intake and exercise, support from parents, mixed feelings towards dance uniform, and conflicting attitudes towards mirrors. Analysis showed that dancers focused more on body dissatisfaction and internal pressures rather than external forces or disordered eating. The findings were more positive than the literature review implied.

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