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When you’re told a casting decision was made based on weight…it happens. Unfortunately, all too often. So how do you respond? What should you think about?

Casting and Weight:

It shouldn’t happen. Or if it does, it really shouldn’t be the opener for a conversation about your body. If the Artistic Staff where you dance decides they can’t cast you in a certain role because of your body and they say that to you, don’t allow it to take you down.

The reality is, if you have the capabilities technically and the desired movement quality, that really is all that should matter. 

When your weight is used as a reason not to cast you, it’s possible there’s something else they’re not telling you. Weight is a common scapegoat. We use it as an excuse for ourselves (I can’t go to that audition because I’m not at my “ideal” weight) and the staff around us use it as an excuse to not cast you.

If you come up against this feedback and you’re happy with your body and dancing then it might be time to move on. This isn’t easy advice. Job’s in dance are hard to come by but it’s about your mental well-being. Constantly being told your body isn’t right, if you feel perfectly happy with where you are physically, will start to take it’s toll.

Seek out positions at other companies where you’ll be supported to stay at the weight that’s healthiest for you.

A client of mine had this experience where she was dancing. There were numerous meetings about her body and weight (with little support provided) which is why she started working with me. She came to the conclusion that it was time to move on. She’s now dancing at a different company where she’s cast well and supported exactly as she is…no weight loss necessary.

Some things to think about if you’re unsure of the body feedback:

Are you happy with where you are physically?

Are you still improving technically and unimpeded by body image issues or physical limitations?

Do you feel energized and healthy?

If you answered YES to all of those questions, then it may definitely be time for a change.

If you decide you want to stay where you are, ask for support. Will the company provide nutritional and/or psychological resources? Do they at least have people to refer you to who have gotten results for other dancers?

Be blunt. Ask the question, “What resources are available to support me?” If they have nothing to offer but you wish to stay at that company and agree that some body change could be healthful and beneficial, seek support.

Make gradual changes and make sure the Artistic Staff is on the same page with your plan. They won’t see change overnight. No crash diets.

Through all of this, stay aware of your intrinsic value. As an artist and person you have a lot to offer. Remind yourself of that fact often!

Casting + Weight

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Health Coach and founder of The Whole Dancer.

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