I Hate My
Thanks to my nutritionist,
I’ve started eating right.
Now I desperately want
to improve my negative
body image. My friends
tell me I look good, but I
don’t believe them. I obsess
over every flaw and find class
depressing. What should I do?
—Crappy Body Image,
The best remedy is to shift your
attention to what really matters: your
dancing. Placement, musicality and technique
will help you get a competitive edge, not body checking.
Searching for imperfections in the mirror or comparing
yourself to others will only reinforce a habit of negative
self-appraisal. By focusing on factors that affect your
performance, you’ll have a much better class and your
body image should improve. A cognitive-behavioral
psychologist can also help. Check out The Renfrew
Center’s nationwide referral list for a specialist near
you ( renfrewcenter.com).
Limping in Heels
I took up Latin ballroom over a year ago, and my coach/
partner wants me to compete in the
Olympics of ballroom dancing—
Blackpool in England in May
2018! My problem is
I don’t want to
that my bunions cause
dancing for long
hours in 3-inch
heels. Should I
to remove them?
jeopardize a critical
point in my career.
isn’t a good idea for any
professional-level dancer who
performs on demi-pointe, even in
high heels. Not only can it take
four months to recover, but it
doesn’t always work, and you
could end up in worse shape
than before the surgery. It’s
also common to lose motion
in the big-toe joint, which
would permanently limit the
height of your relevé. Instead, try
relieving bunion pain by taping a
spacer between your first and second
toes (to keep the big toe aligned) and
wearing wider shoes. Unless performing is
out of the question at this point, save the surgery
until after you retire from dancing.
the Big Apple
I plan on moving to New York
City this fall to continue my
training and freelance work
as a dancer/choreographer.
A big concern is whether
my health insurance
will cover my medical
needs for asthma.
Can you give me any
You’re in luck! The new
Friedman Health Center for
the Performing Arts recently
opened at The Actors Fund
headquarters in Times Square. It’s
geared toward serving the primary and specialty
medical needs of the entertainment community and
offers extended hours for performers. They’re also able
to refer you to physicians from the extensive Mount Sinai
Health System. The center accepts most insurance plans,
plus Medicare and Workers’ Compensation. If you need
to change your insurance, they can counsel you on your
options and help with enrollment, as well. Visit actorsfund.
org/healthcenter, and breathe easier just knowing this
resource will be there when you move. n
JULY 2017 24
Former New York City Ballet dancer Linda Hamilton, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice, the
author of Advice for Dancers (Jossey-Bass) and co-author of The Dancer’s Way: The New York City Ballet
Guide to Mind, Body, and Nutrition (St. Martin’s Griffin). Her website is drlindahamilton.com.
Send your questions to:
Dr. Linda Hamilton, 2000 Broadway, PH2C, New York, NY 10023 n email: firstname.lastname@example.org
advicefordancers | BY LINDA HAMILTON