ECat thank you so very much for sharing your story - it is so powerful for us individually and collectively to speak our truth. This is ballet's greatest opportunity to heal and thrive as we move into the future.
I also have a story of body shaming beginning at age 11 as I entered training in a professional program in NYC. I was a student in the 60s, just as the 'body type' for ballet was under the influence of Balanchine and SAB was actively sorting and selecting accordingly...this influence took hold at other schools, where I also studied and danced, as the Balanchine body became the ideal in the late 60's and 70's.
My memories, while 50 years ago, are still so fresh and alive: looking up to the 'older' girls (12 and 13) who would offer tips for what we now know is disordered eating, listening to girls in the dressing room bathroom stalls suffering with bulimia, having a teacher suggest I eat one container of yogurt and if I was hungry to have a small piece of cheese in order to get into the costume (I was 5'4" growing to almost 5'5" and weighed 104 lbs), I watched and participated in humiliating weigh ins and the celebration and praise when we had starved ourselves to reach weight.
I have been a fan of Kathryn Morgan throughout her early rise, her illness and now as an exceptionally gifted dancer, teacher and advocate for health in ballet (physical and mental). While old enough to be her mother, her powerful video speaks to me - speaks to that confused and emotionally abused little girl, still inside, who was told that I was so talented but my body was so "wrong".
It is time to embrace new standards of what is aesthetically pleasing in dance - other aesthetic forms are beginning to embrace body diversity. It is my hope that together, with our love of the art form, we will create a movement that as Morgan states, "stands up" and "talks about this more". We will no longer stand for "ruining the joy" as we become advocates mental health and body image in the ballet world.