What’s a dancer’s body?

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October 30, 2015 by Nicole

Vogue magazine (of all places) recently published an article entitled The History of the Ballet Body: From Anna Pavlova to Misty Copeland, a retrospective on the evolution of the ideal ballerina’s body.

The historic promotion of Misty Copeland, now being called “the first ballet pop star since Baryshnikov“, gave the dance world another gift – a new opportunity to talk about what a dancer looks like.

I believe most people have a pretty specific mental picture of what a “dancer’s body” looks like….and I think it’s also pretty likely that their expectations would be pretty limiting to a large swathe of the population.

But it doesn’t have to be. Ms. Copeland is one of many voices and examples throughout history that have pushed the boundaries of the dance world’s ideal body expectations.

Change is slow and takes insistent conversations that it’s possible along with talented, brave individuals, like Arthur Mitchell, Alvin Ailey, Kayla Rowser, Maria Tallchief (among many, many others) who dare to be the exception, to set the example and show that beautiful, exciting movement is not dictated by a specific set of physical characteristics.

What do you think – how does the promotion of Misty Copeland help advance this conversation? Are we ready for physical diversity in dance?


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