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Australian Ballet slams ‘body-shaming’ critic who noted dancers look ‘unusually thin’ this season: ‘Unacceptable’


The Australian Ballet has hit back at a scathing review of its latest show Études and Circle Electric after a critic noted the dancers looked «unusually thin».

A scathing review was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 5 May, with dance critic Chantal Nguyen awarding the Sydney Opera House performance only 1.5 stars out of five.

In one passage, Nguyen wrote: ‘The dancers are fabulous, although – and maybe it was the lighting – they seem unusually thin this season.’

The Australian Ballet’s artistic director David Hallberg has since responded, saying comments about dancers’ bodies will not be tolerated.

«Comments about body image are not acceptable and I feel compelled to speak out,» said Hallberg, who is also an accomplished ballet dancer.

The Australian Ballet has hit back at a scathing review of its latest show Études and Circle Electric after a critic noted the dancers looked «unusually thin». (Pictured: Australian Ballet Artistic Director David Hallberg)

«Comments about weight, shape and body comparison can have a serious negative impact on a person’s self-esteem and body image, and can be harmful to individuals’ mental and physical health,» he continued.

Noting that professional ballet dancers are at «high risk» of developing «concerns about body image, eating disorders, and eating disorders,» Hallberg said such comments should be «eradicated from our art form , in sports codes and in society».

He further highlighted the Australian Ballet’s commitment to maintaining a positive environment for dancers by working with the National Eating Disorders Collaboration.

«Comments about weight, shape and body comparison can have a serious negative impact on a person’s self-esteem and body image, and can be harmful to individuals’ mental and physical health,» Hallberg said in a statement. (Pictured: Australian Ballet Dancers)

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Together, the organizations created a set of «body image and disordered eating guidelines» to help dancers develop healthy habits while preventing and managing eating disorders.

«We believe that by taking the steps outlined in this plan, we can create a safe and supportive environment for our dancers to thrive on and off the stage, build long and fulfilling careers, and excel in their post-dance lives,» Hallberg said.

Speaking to the ABC, Hallberg said that while the Australian Ballet «welcomes criticism of the art form», it does not welcome criticism of «the bodies, shapes and sizes of the dancers».

He claimed the Australian Ballet asked the Sydney Morning Herald to remove the line, but the publication refused.

«They said they felt it was frankly ridiculous that any discussion of body image could not be covered in a review,» Hallberg said.

Noting that professional ballet dancers are at

Noting that professional ballet dancers are at «high risk» of developing «concerns about body image, eating disorders, and eating disorders,» Hallberg said such comments should be «eradicated from our art form , in sports codes and in society». (Pictured: Australian Ballet dancer)



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