General Dance Discussion > Unhealthy Dance Instructors

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by DanceMentor, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I know many dance instructors that have gained a lot of weight as they got older. I think maybe they don't take care of themselves very well...they smoke between lessons and eat a lot of junk. Still, it seems hard to believe that they are overweight when they are dancing 6 hours per day, but somehow they manage.

    There are a couple of them that I feel sympathy. It is sad to see them looking so unhealthy after dedicating so many years to dancing.

    What do you think of such people? Is there any hope for them?
  2. jon

    jon Member

    Re: Overweight Dance Instructors

    "Hope"? I think that if their weight isn't harming their dancing, it's nobody else's concern, and perhaps even an incentive to overweight students. I don't know about the ballroom side of things, but there are quite a few excellent high level WCS instructors who are pretty well, er, grounded.
  3. motardmom

    motardmom New Member

    I only know of one overweight dance instructor and I really haven't given much thought to how he got that way and how I feel about that. I was just watching him dance last night and thinking what a cutie he is. He really gets right out there and shakes it, and his bit of belly jiggles and he swings his butt, and he grins really big and flirts with the crowd and frankly, I think it looks really cute on him. :lol: He can really work it!
  4. BodiesByBija

    BodiesByBija New Member

    In the dance world we tend to be very image conscious. Dancing is a form of healthy exercise that can help people get to and maintain their ideal weight. However, people can STILL engage in unhealthy eating patterns, with hectic lifestyles and a limited 'home-life'. So eating on the run, junk food for quick energy, and emotional eating to fill the void at the end of a long day (of teaching)... can all add up to unhealthy weight gain.

    We can have compassion for those struggling with their weight, and support them with love and understanding. Unless you have walked a mile in their dance shoes, you may never know what issues they deal with. When they are ready to change, they will. And until then, at least they are still dancing! Also, we can be careful ourselves not to be "weightists", as it is a form of discrimination as bad as all the rest.
  5. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I think it's really really rude to judge people on their weight. Yes, it's a shock to see someone who used to be needle-thin suddenly balloon to what is actually a normal size, but so be it. So many female competitive dancers are size 0-4 that when they stop competing and go up to a 6 or 8 or a 10 people think they've "let themselves go." 6-10 is a nice healthy size for someone who is no longer competing, I think some of the competitors are just too thin to begin with and it's skewed everyone's perceptions. And plus it sets the bar in a really weird place for those of us who are built differently and who even with lots of excercise and decent eating can only get to an 8 or 10 in the best of times...what I mean is, it feels icky to hear someone criticise an ex-competitor for getting fat when that ex-competitor is still small when compared to a number of us. I've had dress clients be all upset and apologetic for being an 8 or a 10 (and once even a 6), and I'm like "get a grip and like yourself, you are who you are and don't let the stick people give you a complex."
  6. NeoDevin

    NeoDevin New Member

    I disagree with this, sometimes people are overweight because of genetics, perhaps a disease or something beyond their control, but for the vast majority of fat people out there (I'm talking the really fat ones, not just a little chubby or plump), it's a simple lack of taking care of themselves. If they can't be bothered to respect themselves, why should I be bothered to respect them? It's perfectly acceptable to discriminate someone based on their choices, including their choice of whether or not to take care of themselves.
  7. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I was thinking of a couple of people who definitely do not care of themselves, and that is different than being big and beautiful. It is one thing to weigh a little more if you are eating healthy food, and getting plenty of excercise. But don't you think that if you smoke, drink, and eat a lot of junk that you may not be a good example?

    Maybe I am being too judgemental, but sometimes saying nothing is not good either, because I believe people can improve, and they deserve support from their friends.
  8. Laura

    Laura New Member

    You can always do like Tony Meredith did, and call "What Not to Wear" on the "slipping" ex-competitor. :)
  9. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    Personally...I love to see dancers of all shapes and sizes...and it never ceases to amaze me how much our culture is obsessed on the physical appearance. :roll:

    There's a lot of grey issue on this I wonder about anyone who has unhealthy it excessive eating, smoking, drinking and the plethera of "bad" things (although sometimes very enjoyable) that we have easy access to in our culture.

    Seeing just the surface of a person really tells you very little. Having been largely overweight (290 lbs) and as low as 155...I've been both very heavy and thin and defintely had my share of experiences with how I've been viewed by others.

    I've met plenty of thin and "in shape" people who look great, but in reality are some of the most unhealthy folks out there. Some years ago I befriended a store owner who once had been a body builder...and you would have never guessed so by looking at him. He shared how he got very "in shape" and had a body most people would die for...but his internal organs were an opposite contrast of his muscular figure. Soon he had a health crisis and had to change his lifestyle or face being in an early grave.

    And a martial artist I've met many very plump or very thin experts who look like someone's peaceful Grandfather...but possess physical abilities that are far beyond what most of us will ever reach. So in my way of being...what constitues "in shape" is vastly different than the American norm.

    There's an old Chinese saying..."If you eat poison, you will surely die"...yet the amount of poisons that I see people putting in their bodies (especially disguised as "health food") boggles my mind to no end. :oops: :? :oops:
  10. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I'm one of "such people." It's none of your business what I eat, whether I smoke, or what my exercise regimen is. I'm one of the better dancers in my area and I'm an excellent teacher. I'm sure learning some things about some df'ers on this thread, though.

    (thanks SD...that was my original intent.)[/i]
  11. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    No kidding on that one! Lots of skinny girls here but they look malnutritioned(and a majority of them are from fad dieting and eating nothing but instant ramen). I work with a lot of people in the medical industry and hear some pretty shocking stories about health problems among the young & skinny(mostly involving constipation!). Then I switch on CNN and hear reports about people gorging on junk food and super-size everything over in my homeland- is there no happy medium for some people? I imagine a lot of this weight issue has to do with our respective cultures...
  12. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    I'd just like to point out that this should be "about some df'ers..." :?
  13. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Well, acutally, since science and now the health industry has labeled obesity (which is what you are critquing) as a diease, and not a matter of hygeine or cosmetic appreciation (!), your attack is very unjustified. It is true, tho, that it does appear as if it IS a matter of preference and lack of respect etc. But, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

    In reality, it is the 'little chubby or plump' group that actually has more 'reason' to be accused of sloppiness and 'lack of taking care'. A few pounds is manageable through excercise and doing 'pushaways' - from the table that is.

    In reality, no dance teacher spends most of the time dancing during a lesson, anyway - even the most strenuous of lessoning, with the proverbial 'proam student', leaves the coach with a lot of 'standing there and talking' with the student. True, it's a lot like weight training with a bronze student in your arms (I was one myself and I think my coach was a SAINT for putting up with me as a deadweight!!) but there is not much 'aerobic' work involved. The dance teacher that you see spending the entire lesson 'dancing' with his proam lady is not really doing much anyway, especially in proam american - it's done 'in their sleep' and does not involve 'pushing off from a standing leg', 'body flight', or any of the principles that are very athletic and require much more than social american 'walking to music' (no offense to proam beginners - I was a beginner too, and quite clueless as to 'doing my share' of the dancing).

    And, coaching Dancesport couples normally involves very little 'dancing' from the coach. The dancesport athlete would think that they were not getting a good lesson or their money's worth if the coach transmitted the information only by 'dancing' it (how can you learn if you are not shown the proper muscles, shapes etc and made to do it YOURSELF anyway?) and anyway the dancesport couple needs to do the actions together. A nonverbal coach has limited appeal.

    The 'look' of a dance instructor is overrated as a barometer of the instructor's quality for another, business reason - for the dance student that that needs quality instruction, then age, weight, gender, or race have no bearing on the instructor's quality of information. For a proammer who needs a good looking or attractive body to look at or needs for competition, then yes, some of these things may apply (the proammer might just want to 'take the proverbial one hour a week' or 'compete after a few months' and that becomes quite a fashion or beefcake show) but in reality, some of the top coaches in the world may not 'look' like the dancer they were: Melanie LaPatin is a good example of this.

    And what about great coaches that are in their 60s or 70s or beyond (Lorraine, Peter Eggleton, Bill Irvine)? I'd take a lesson any day with one of these champions rather than one from a cute '6 week wonder', or the 'flava of the month' at the local AM or FS...
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Interesting thread. I think I'll actually go back and read it, now. :wink: :roll:
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    :notworth: This sounds like a balanced approach to the subject, BodiesbyBija. Of course, I'm not surprised, given what you do for a living. :D

    Hmm. This thread has the potential to become contentious, so I'll have to tread carefully, here. Here's my thought. Weight is influenced by a lot of things -- genetics, eating patterns, amount of exercise, chronological age, emotional factors, body chemistry, metabolism, societal factors, family upbringing...

    And yes, some people are fat because they have a habit of taking in more calories than they burn. But to take a simple view that fat people aren't taking care of themselves is probably missing a bit of the picture. Some aren't taking care of themselves. But some are, but are still heavy for reasons perhaps beyond their control.

    To make judgments about people's character based on their weight is likely missing a LOT of the picture. Of course, we all make judgments about people. It's the human way. Still, I'd hesitate to make too hasty a decision, until I'd walked a mile in the other person's shoes.

    Back to dance teachers. :wink: Girth has nothing to do with teaching ability, that I can see. Of course, it might determine a teacher's ability to succeed, if some students are influenced by superficial appearance into viewing a teacher as less qualified because of a few extra pounds. I don't know if this is an issue or not. I've only known overweight male teachers, and they were very charming men who had a huge and faithful constituency. *shrug*
  16. dancin/dj

    dancin/dj Member

    twnkltoz this is true and i know a few pros that are good teachers and dancers that are friends,but people do talk and you can never stop that, i'll dance with any size person,but when we say were pros in dance or ice skating or gymnastics you surely cant deny that it (looks better) to look better, when we put ourselves out there in pubic we should strive for this,im slender, i dj and people have had no problem coming up to me and telling me things(more so in the past) about the music-i stove to get better and better im a pubic servent so to speak,i know dj"s who never change anything about what they do-even though people hate there music mixs,whats that have to do with this subject a lot if you want to be in the public eye.i truely do understand the hardness for some to correct a overweight problem,but again you out in the public and it does matter sometimes :cry:
  17. BodiesByBija

    BodiesByBija New Member

    Re: Overweight Dance Instructors

    The ACTIVITY of many years of dancing is certainly healthy. But is the LIFESTYLE? Let's consider the typical dancer's lifestyle (especially dancers whose prime was a decade or more ago):

    6+ hours of dancing a day (Very Healthy)
    eating late or infrequent meals, sometimes on a budget, take-out, or eat-out (Often high fat, high calorie)
    Eating budget meals... not high in plants, veggies, fruit, whole foods or organic (High cholesterol, high sodium, not very healthy)
    Smoking ... so many professional dancers do this for weight management
    Drinking / Partying (Alcohol taxes the system, causing liver stress, is dehydrating, resulting in fatigue the next day, and worse over time)
    Caffeine ... a staple for those who work and eat late, party etc. and have to be on their feet for 6+ hours the next day......

    Over a couple decades this lifestyle takes a huge toll, probably the only 'healthy' aspect of it was the exercise from dancing. When a pro has retired from competition, that aerobic exercise is gone, and the other habits remain.... is it any wonder some put on weight?

    Many dancers today are living this same lifestyle and will themselves have to clean up their act when they no longer run rounds or compete regularly.

    Many pro's in fact start eating healthier when they retire, and stop smoking. Those who don't are indeed on a crash course for physical self-destruction.

    Is there hope for them? Yes, there is always hope. Former athletes past their prime are painfully aware they do not look like their sleek former selves. You cannot imagine their inner dialogue as they pass each day. Passing judgement on these folks is not your place.

    I'd like to also say that our culture puts an extreme amount of pressure on people to be very thin. Unrealistic models make even normal women feel fat. Young girls begin to hate their bodies, and although beautiful and healthy, the media helps set them up for a lifetime of body image distortion, eating disorders, self-loathing, obsessing, deprivation dieting, backlash binge eating, and depression.

    Then put these people in the dancesport world where everything is scrutinized and judged, both on and off the floor, and the price of succeeding outweighs the need to be healthy. People sacrifice a lot to win. After living this lifestyle for many years, some people do indeed let it go because the effort was too great to sustain that thin image. It can take awhile before some are ready to "deal with it" again.

    And yes, in my experience, there is hope for them. Thanks for bringing up this sensitive topic, let's continue to treat it with respect, for it causes many people a lot of pain.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    :notworth: BBB, :notworth: Beautifully said. :D
  19. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread.

    BBB: Your eloquence leaves me ... nothing to write! :)

    At least for now. ;)
  20. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for your excellent contributions BBB! :notworth:

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