Which of these do you need as a dancer – a body that is thin, or a body that can dance?
This was the question I put forward to the few hundred audiences at the Dancers Life Support‘s event on the 8th of Jan.
Amongst them were young dance students, pre-professional/professional/ex dancers, teachers, parents, and trainers working in the performing arts industry.
What a rich mix of people from all different stages of life and experiences.
Now going back to my first question.
I can’t stress enough of the importance of clarifying this first before talking about food, eating or nutrition.
Because “dieting to lose weight” and “eating to support the body’s abilities to dance” are totally different things.
Dieting to lose weight leads to energy restriction, nutrition deficiencies and disordered eating patterns.
Eating to support dance, on the other hand, involves a much more holistic approach. It’s about nourishment – the mind and body, not just one or the other.
It’s about meeting your energy and nutrition needs through foods that also make you feel comfortable, satisfied, inspired and fulfilled.
It’s about asking yourself questions such as “what foods do I need today to keep me energised?”, “how would I feel if I ate —?”, “what would sit in comfortably in my stomach and not feel bloated?”
It’s about approaching eating with kindness and curiosity, instead of judgement or fear of having to stay thin.
Nutrition is science and Eating is behaviour.
That’s why you need to understand the mind and body connection when it comes to food and body relationships.
Dancers (and any other performing artists) in particular will benefit from this knowledge because developing the mind and body connection during meals can ultimately lead to better body awareness and self expression.
Oh yes, everything is indeed connected.
The seminar was a huge success.
Some verbal feedback that came post-event include:
“This was such an important topic to learn about”
“I’m now more inspired to take care of my body so that I can continue to dance”
“I’ve suffered from eating disorders in the past… but it wasn’t until I heard you speak that I realised what my real underlying issue is”
(all feedback originally came in Japanese; translated to English by Fumi)
This particular event was valuable to me for two reasons.
- DDD was able to meet and connect with new audiences overseas. Nurturing healthy dancers is DDD’s main goal, hence it meant so much to me to be able to educate dancers in Japan face-to-face.
- I was able to see what Japan is lacking in dancers’ health care. The support network in Japan for dancers’ health isn’t the strongest and there’s so much work that needs to be done. And DDD will help find ways to make this happen.
I can’t thank Ai enough for her support – and all the amazing work she is doing already.
Thanks to Toshibumi for being a great MC.
And thank you to all the great people I met on the day.
DDD will continue to provide the best support for dancers’ health through quality information, education, and skills-building workshop.
We will also extend our support for dancers in Japan in the very near future so stay posted x
— Some photos from the day, thanks to the photographers —