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I will be successful if I am thin. How professional ballerinas live

The art of ballet fascinates us with its grace and beauty. But behind the seeming ease of movement is the exorbitant work of artists, who throughout their careers have proven that they are worthy to dance on the stage. Future ballerinas immerse themselves in the craft in childhood, and in adolescence they enter choreographic boarding schools, where they receive the necessary knowledge and hone their skills in practice. In the process of growing up, girls are faced with changes in their own bodies, and this is where the real struggle for a chiseled figure begins.

Blogger and creator of the YouTube channel Tanya + Dances Tatiana Chernenko met with professional ballerinas Joy Womack and Anastasia Limenko and learned how artists maintain weight. It turned out that the pursuit of thinness sometimes led to dire consequences.

Joy Womack: I weighed 36 kilograms on the exam

Joy can be called a unique ballerina. She studied both in the USA and in Russia - at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. Womack became the first American woman to graduate from our school and was accepted into the troupe of the Bolshoi Theater. But the way the girl went to success in the theater field gives goosebumps.

In her second year at Moscow State Academy of Arts, the teacher who promoted Joy was forced to leave their course. A teacher came to replace him, who saw too much sports in the girl and believed that she did not have ballet data. Therefore, Womack had to prove with all her might that she was a promising student. And the ways she tried to get better was extremely exhausting.

Joy says there was a general tendency at the academy to be thin. Especially among those who did not have outstanding abilities. It was believed that the thinner the better. Therefore, in the last year of study, a real struggle unfolded among the girls-graduates for the right to dance in the Paquito ballet. The artists began to lose weight even harder. Joy was so afraid of competition that she took extra classes with another teacher. She attended classes at 6 am, worked there for two hours and then went to school, where she continued to study diligently until the evening. It was a tremendous load.

Near where Womack took private lessons, there was a shop with dried fruits and nuts. Joy still remembers that already at 8 am she felt terrible hunger. Every day she waited to be able to buy 100 grams of sweetened peanuts and stretch this handful for the whole day. And if the girl allowed herself chocolate, then only a small square piece. After class, Womack went home and bought some jelly. She drank it until 6 pm, and after - no food.

Due to such a meager diet, Joy at some point weighed 36 kilograms - that wouldl the lowest rate in her conscious life. The girl became so thin that Marina Konstantinovna Leonova, rector of the Moscow State Academy of Arts, called her to her and said that she urgently needed to get better. The ballerina admitted that after a critical weight loss it is very difficult to gain pounds back. And besides, she received excellent marks in the exams, she was selected to dance at the Bolshoi Theater, and all the teachers praised Womack, talking about her beauty and diligence. Willy-nilly, it motivated me to stay skinny.

And only after graduation from the academy and after Joy began to gradually gain weight for some time of real work in the theater.

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Anastasia Limenko: I will be successful if I am thin

Now Anastasia Limenko is the leading soloist of the Stanislavsky Musical Theater. She previously studied in Minsk, and then moved to Moscow and became Womack's classmate at the academy. Both girls were determined and ambitious foreigners. And although they now maintain warm friendly relations, the competition during their studies not only erased the opportunity to sincerely rejoice for each other's victories, but also added fuel to the fire.

According to Anastasia, among all the female ballerinas there was a competition not just for weight loss, but for underweight. And Limenko achieved this: she began to toughly experiment with weight at the age of 13, while still in her hometown. According to the table in which the required weight of each student was indicated, she was supposed to weigh 43 kilograms, but she threw it off to 40 without permission. Then it was believed that being even thinner than the standard was cool, but now Anastasia understands how unhealthy it was. Indeed, because of this lifestyle, the development of the body slows down, there is a shortage of necessary elements and, in the end, problems for the female part begin.

Limenko says that almost the whole day of future ballerinas is spent at the school. Parents cannot control what girls eat and do during this time. Accordingly, adults are unable to stop the desire of children to lose weight. When Anastasia studied in Belarus, there was a standard: you subtract 120 from your own height and you get your ideal weight. Just imagine how small the numbers were. But, according to the artist, the weighing system at the Moscow State Academy of Arts was even tougher and sometimes went to the extreme. For example, a girl with a height of 173 cm dShe had to weigh 48 kilograms. Most often, if a person does not have a genetic predisposition to such thinness, it is unrealistic to achieve it. In this case, the students were expelled, even though they tortured their own bodies and tried to blindly comply with the standard.

To lose weight, Limenko wrote down everything she ate in a notebook. This information was supplemented by horrifying comments: in the notebook, the girl scolded herself for every little offense. She admitted that mental problems started from here.

One day a girl had breakfast at home with porridge , for lunch I ate compote with a slice of bread and for dinner - grapefruit. On this day, the signature in the notebook called for always being equal to just such a diet. And in preparation for the next competition, Limenko decided to lose weight even more and set an unimaginable goal for herself - not to eat or drink water after two in the afternoon. She achieved some results, but such a meal plan brought with it many other problems and an unhealthy attitude to food.

Arriving in Moscow and enrolling in the Moscow State Academy of Arts, Anastasia took on even greater responsibility. The girl did not eat anything sweet, and for dinner she ate clearly half the portion that was given in the boarding school. The ballerina recalls that many in the school suffered from bulimia. And Anastasia's diet returned to normal only when there was a lot of work. Due to the heavy load and immersion in her favorite business, the girl simply did not think whether she overeats or not.

A detailed story of Joy Womack and Anastasia Limenko's weight loss can be seen in the video.

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Compliance standard: why do ballerinas torture themselves with diets?

According to Limenko, the desire for thinness is primarily associated with the Russian school of ballet. It has developed a certain standard of how a ballerina should look. Of course, girls need to remain aesthetic and slim so that there is no edge. But at the same time, it is important to understand that all ballerinas are individual and it is impossible to sculpt them according to one cliché. Otherwise, many can say goodbye to good health. Therefore, Anastasia believes that you can polish the body to a certain edge and achieve a good picture, but you cannot always chase the ideal. Because, as a rule, they call it to us. And in schools there should be professional nutritionists and doctors who will help build the balancea nsirovanny diet with huge loads. After all, with a healthy diet, it is quite possible to eat a lot without harm to the figure.

After all of the experiences of Anastasia, health, psyche and normal sleep became more important than ever. She still needs to improve her metabolism. Now the girl's diet is dominated by live food. In addition, the artist completely abandoned chemistry, meat and tries not to drink coffee, and along with this habit, the craving for sugar has disappeared.

For eating disorders, Limenko recommends that you remove all prohibitions from yourself, and then start listen to the body and try to understand what it really wants. The ballerina also believes that eating while watching TV or doing other things is harmful. Eating should be a separate deliberate process.

I will be successful if I am thin. How professional ballerinas live

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Based on personal experience, Anastasia believes that each organism is individual, just like its needs. Therefore, the main thing in nutrition is to enter your regime and hear the body. Of course, there are foods that should be kept to a minimum for everyone. We are talking, for example, about flavor enhancers and sugar. Such food can be addictive. Namely, it is worth getting rid of this in order to learn to distinguish annoying eating habits from what your body really wants.

Stuff No One Tells You About Being a Professional Ballet Dancer Ep.2: Toxic Thinness Culture

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