Too fat to dance? Forget the Sugar Plum Fairy more like the Sugar Plump Fairy. New York Times dance critic, Alastair Macaulay criticizes New York City Ballet's principal dancer for her weight. After reviewing George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Macaulay writes:
"This didn't feel, however, like an opening night. Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she'd eaten one sugar plum too many; and Jared Angle, as the Cavalier, seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm."
What makes this jab even worse is that Ringer had left the ballet because of an eating disorder. No surprise Macaulay was criticized for his criticism. On Friday he responded holding his ground.
"Some correspondents have argued that the body in ballet is "irrelevant." Sorry, but the opposite is true. If you want to make your appearance irrelevant to criticism, do not choose ballet as a career. The body in ballet becomes a subject of the keenest observation and the most intense discussion. I am severe -- but ballet, as dancers know, is more so."
Monday morning, Ringer appeared on the "Today" show and responded to Macaulay's harsh comments.
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She says that she was able to move forward from it and she was humbled by the out crying of support. She also addressed the pressures of being a dancer. "It is a field where our bodies are important," she said. "As dancers we're taught to try to be perfect in every way technically and in every way."
Ringer also discussed her previous eating disorder, "I was 16 when I became professional and I think I wasn't prepared to cope with just being in an adult performing world, and so I think my coping mechanisms kind of turned into eating disorders and body image issues."
And whether or not a dancer should be criticized for her body weight, Ringer said, "I think that that is a really complex question. As a dancer I do put myself out there to be criticized and my body is part of my art form. At the same time I'm not overweight. I do have I guess a more womanly body type than the stereotypical ballerina."
What do you think about this jab? Was the critic out of line or is it par for the course?
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Online Dish: "Sugar Plump Fairy"; Ballerina Criticized for Her Weight
New York Times dance critic, criticizes New York City Ballet's principal dancer for her weight.
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