Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2023, 6(21); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2023.062123.

Body Anxiety in Female Dancers


Qing Ji

Corresponding Author:
Qing Ji

MSc Dance Science & Education, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom


In their professional careers, female dancers often encounter pressures from various sources, particularly those related to their body image. This article aims to critically examine the causes of body image anxiety from physiological, psychological, and societal perspectives, along with its negative impact on female dancers. Additionally, potential solutions to address this issue are presented. Through critical analysis, it becomes evident that factors such as female body development, dancers' pursuit of perfectionism, and societal stereotypes within the dance environment may contribute to body image anxiety among female dancers. The extreme weight loss methods chosen by dancers due to body image anxiety can lead to subsequent issues such as eating disorders, significantly shortening their professional careers, diminishing their quality of life, and even causing irreversible harm. Therefore, female dancers should focus on self-guidance and self-affirmation. However, the most crucial aspect lies in society and the dance industry embracing inclusivity and diversity, reducing rigid stereotypes regarding female dancers' body image.


Female dancers, Body image anxiety, Eating disorders

Cite This Paper

Qing Ji. Body Anxiety in Female Dancers. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2023) Vol. 6, Issue 21: 140-145. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2023.062123.


[1] Anshel, M. H. (2004). Sources of disordered eating patterns between ballet dancers and non-dancers. Journal of Sport Behaviour, 27(2), 115–134.

[2] Ata, R., Ludden, A. B., & Lally, M. M. (2006). The effects of gender and family, friend, and media influences on eating behaviors and body image during adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(8). 1024-1037.

[3] Benn, T., & Walters, D. (2001). Between Scylla and Charybdis. Nutritional education versus body culture and the ballet aesthetic: The effects on the lives of female dancers. Research in Dance Education, 2(2), 139-154.

[4] Byrne, S., & McLean, N. (2002). Elite athletes: effects of the pressure to be thin. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 5(2), 80-94.

[5] Danis, A., Jamaludin, A. N., Majid, H. A. M. A., & Isa, K. A. M. (2016). Body image perceptions among dancers in urban environmental settings. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 222, 855-862.

[6] Druss, R. G., & Silverman, J. A. (1979). Body image and perfectionism of ballerinas: Comparison and contrast with anorexia nervosa. General Hospital Psychiatry, 1(2), 115-121.

[7] Estanol, E., Shepherd, C., & MacDonald, T. (2013). Mental skills as protective attributes against eating disorder risk in dancers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 25(2), 209-222.

[8] Fostervold Mathisen, T. F., Sundgot-Borgen, C., Anstensrud, B., & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2022). Mental health, eating behaviour and injuries in professional dance students. Research in Dance Education, 23(1), 108-125.

[9] Garrett, R. (2004). Negotiating a physical identity: Girls, bodies and physical education. Sport, education and society, 9(2), 223-237.

[10] Harper, B., & Tiggemann, M. (2008). The effect of thin ideal media images on women’s self-objectification, mood, and body image. Sex roles, 58, 649-657.

[11] Jeremiejczyk, N. (2007). Eating disorders and excessive exercise. Issues, (81), 15-17.

[12] Jin-Sook, O., & Eun-Ju, K. (2016). An effect of attitude toward body image of adolescent dance majors upon their weight control behavior and eating disorder. Indian J Sci Technol, 9(25).

[13] Kozai, A., & Ambegaonkar, J. P. (2020). Health literacy for collegiate dancers: provision and perceptions of health-related education in university dance programs. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 24(3), 118-125.

[14] Krakkóné Szászi, B., & Szabó, P. (2021). Dancers’ Body: The Examination of Health, Body Satisfaction, Body Attitudes, Eating Attitudes, and Self-Esteem among Dancers. Tánc És Nevelés= Dance and Education, 2(1), 30-54.

[15] Mainwaring, L. M., Krasnow, D., & Kerr, G. (2001). And the dance goes on psychological impact of injury. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 5(4), 105-115.

[16] McPhee, L. (2000). Dying to be thin [Television Broadcast]. Boston: Public Broadcasting Service.

[17] Nordin-Bates, S. M., Walker, I. J., & Redding, E. (2011). Correlates of disordered eating attitudes among male and female young talented dancers: Findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training. Eating Disorders, 19(3), 211-233.

[18] Oliver, W. (2008). Body image in the dance class. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 79(5), 18-41.

[19] Pickard, A. (2013). Ballet body belief: Perceptions of an ideal ballet body from young ballet dancers. Research in Dance Education, 14(1), 3-19.

[20] Radell, S. A., Adame, D. D., & Cole, S. P. (2004). The impact of mirrors on body image and classroom performance in female college ballet dancers. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 8(2), 47-52.

[21] Rahadi, R. A. (2012). Factors related to repeat consumption behaviour: a case study in traditional market in Bandung and surrounding region. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 36, 529-539.

[22] Reinking, M. F., & Alexander, L. E. (2005). Prevalence of disordered-eating behaviors in undergraduate female collegiate athletes and nonathletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 40(1), 47-51.

[23] Rhea, D. (1998). Physical Activity and Body Image of Female Adolescents: Moving Towards the 21s t Century. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 69 (5) 27-31.

[24] Thompson, R. A., & Trattner Sherman, R. (1999). Athletes, athletic performance, and eating disorders: Healthier alternatives. Journal of Social Issues, 55(2), 317-337.

[25] Toro, J., Guerrero, M., Sentis, J., Castro, J., & Puertolas, C. (2009). Eating disorders in ballet dancing students: Problems and risk factors. European Eating Disorders Review: The Professional Journal of the Eating Disorders Association, 17(1), 40-49.

[26] Tzur, Y., Katz, R., & Berger, R. (2014). Yahasim bein ahayot she-ahat mi-hen lokah be-hafra-ot ahila. Relations between Sisters When One Suffers from an Eating Disorder.] Hevra Ve-revaha, 34, 335-358.

[27] Walter, O., & Yanko, S. (2018). New observations on the influence of dance on body image and development of eating disorders. Research in Dance Education, 19(3), 240-251.

[28] Wilmerding, M., McKinnon, M. M., & Mermier, C. (2005). Body composition in dancers a review. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 9(1), 18-23.

[29] Wilmerding, M., Robson, B., & Book, A. (2002). Cigarette smoking in the adolescent dance population. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 17(3), 116-120.

[30] Yaseen, S., & Fatima, S. (2022). Associations among Body Attitude, Body Satisfaction, Stress, Depression, and Anxiety in University Students: A Multilevel Moderating Model. Nature-Nurture Journal of Psychology, 2(1), 22-29.

[31] Zuława, G., & Pilch, W. (2012). The estimation of nutrition habit of ballet school students in Krakow (Ocena sposobu żywienia uczennic Szkoły Baletowej Fundacji Artystycznej w Krakowie). Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny, 63(1), 105–110.