After a workshop that I taught, a participant told me that she was told she shouldn’t take dance class by a dance class instructor because she doesn’t have a “dancer’s body”. It struck a chord because I’ve heard this countless times.
Dancer’s body. Swimmer’s Build. Athletic physique.
Complete, Total and Utter Bullshit.
These ideas are constantly touted by two groups of people:
1. People who want to sell us something “Buy my Taepilatyogalletboxing System and get that dancer’s body you’ve always wanted”
2. People who rely on feeling superior to feel ok about themselves: “I have a dancer’s body so it doesn’t matter how well you dance, you can’t possibly be a dancer because you don’t have a dancer’s body. I am therefore better than you and so my fragile sense of self-esteem and exaggerated sense of self-importance both remain intact”
Except that nobody actually has the right to declare anything about anybody else’s body. Nobody is required to do any kind of athletics or exercise, but anyone who wants to should be welcome.
Do you dance? Do you want to? Then you have a dancer’s body.
Do you swim? Do you want to? The you have a swimmer’s build. (Let’s try to remember that everything from minnows to whales swims, you know what I’m saying?)
Are you an athlete? Do you want to be? Then you have an athletic physique.
People can try to tell us otherwise, but happily we get to decide if we’re going to let people who are trying to sell us something or trying to put us down to make themselves feel better keep us from doing what we want to do. And we get to choose how we do it – do we want to find a comfortable accepting environment (even if it’s our living room)? Do we want to crash the party with our “non-traditional” bodies? It’s all up to us.
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