Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jenifer Ringer: A Body Image Role Model for the Holidays

One of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up?? Going to see the Nutcracker Ballet. I was pretty involved in ballet until the 7th grade, so it made the ballet even that much more meaningful and special to me. I have to say it's been a few years since I've gone- I think the last time I went I saw a very 'interesting' production at the Raleigh Memorial Theatre that featured a more modern interpretation and ballet style. Because I have such positive and warm memories surrounding the Nutcracker, it was even more sad to hear about what happened recently- that something so festive and beautiful could turn into an opportunity for criticism and ignorance. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, there was a pretty big controversy recently over some comments that dance critic Alistair Macaulay from the NY Times wrote about Jenifer Ringer, the ballerina playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the New York City Ballet's production of the Nutcracker. His critical comments were focused on her weight, which is bad enough- but she has been open about her struggles with anorexia and disordered eating in the past, which seemed to make this critique even more upsetting, disappointing, and irresponsible. Ringer was interviewed on the Today Show by Ann Curry, and I was extremely moved by how strong, gracious, articulate and healthy she was in communicating about the whole thing! This clip below is the segment that was featured- it provides the backstory as to what actually happened, and also includes the interview with Ringer. In total it is about 7 minutes, and I would really encourage you to watch it. (I have watched it a few times!!) She does a fabulous job of articulating that being a dancer did not cause her eating disorder (she busted an ED myth!) and around the 6:40 mark she has some very encouraging words for us about our bodies. Check it out below.


  1. Your video can only be viewed in the United States.

  2. Hi Laura! Try this link and see if you can watch it-