A FEW MONTHS AGO, HEARING I WAS A DANCE CRITIC, a woman asked me to recommend a dance school for her daughter—“somewhere that won’t give her a messed-up body image,” she added. This question came on the heels of another—where in town could she go for good ballet? She asked that last with a bit of a sigh that implied she didn’t want to muster up cheers for hard-working hometown scrubs; she wanted to sink into the real deal, flawless and willowy classical sylphs. Together, the two questions piqued me: What?, I wanted to ask; Eating disorders are fine for other people, just not for your daughter? I don’t remember how I answered her question, but I wanted to say something like this: “Just send her to ballet class. Sure, she’ll get screwed up, but everyone does, and at least ballet, like Catholicism, is an interesting screwing-up — one with history, beauty, discipline, ideas.”
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