What I Love About My Body

April 12, 2016

retty much every dancer has looked in the mirror and
thought, “If only this one thing about my body were
different…” But the most successful dancers are those
who can take a not-quite-ideal body part and turn it into a secret weapon. We asked six professionals to talk about the features that might not be perfect, but that have become an important part of what makes them

Kacie Boblitt (Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Keigwin + Company)

my long torso.”

I grew up in the ballet world, and I always thought it was a burden
to have a long torso and shorter legs—long legs are the ideal. But I had a turning point in college, when I started using my torso during improvisation sessions. You can tell a lot about how a dancer is feeling by the way she engages her torso. It has such a capacity for expressing emotion. Now, as a contemporary dancer, I think of my long torso as a gift. It’s become my most articulate body part.

—Kacie Boblitt, Keigwin + Company

Maria Ambrose (Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Elisa Monte Dance)

“I love my slouchy shoulders.”

My upper back is super-flexible, but not in that pretty way that lends itself to bridges and back bends. Instead, mine easily folds forward, which makes me look slouchy. I used to get a lot of corrections about it, so I always thought of it as a negative. But when I joined Elisa Monte Dance, I was encouraged to
it. I found I could make shapes with my body that other dancers couldn’t, and I started to embrace the mobility I’d always been told was a problem. My shoulders have become my most expressive body part—and one of the most exciting aspects of my dancing. —Maria Ambrose, Elisa Monte Dance

Alex Wong (Photo by Brian Jamie, courtesy Wong)

“I love my 
muscular butt.”

I always hated my butt growing up. When I’d stand at the ballet barre, it would stick out, and I wanted a straighter line. As I got older, though, I started to appreciate that it actually makes me look stronger and more masculine. And those muscles come in handy. Without my powerful glutes, I wouldn’t be able to jump as high, and my arabesque would be significantly lower. My only problem now is finding pants that fit!

—Alex Wong, commercial dancer

Kim Gingras (Photo by Erin Baiano)

my red hair.”

I used to hate my hair color. When I was younger, I got teased a lot—kids called me “Carrot Head”—
and several casting directors
have actually asked me to dye it. But while I’ll wear
the occasional wig, lately
my unique look has been working in my favor. I’ve even been called on for parts specifically because I’m a redhead. I’ve been so thankful to

work with artists like Beyoncé who embrace my individuality. An added bonus: My parents love that they can always find me onstage! —Kim Gingras, commercial dancer

“I love my
crooked spine.”

I found out I had scoliosis in fifth grade, and I thought it would be the end of my dance dreams. I had to wear a soft brace 24 hours a day—even in ballet class, which I hated—and I struggled constantly with my uneven hips. Over time, though, that made me a lot more aware of my
alignment. And ultimately my
curvy spine makes my back extra flexible. When I go on auditions now, I know I can nab the roles that call for a dancer who’s extremely bendy. 

—Bri Kraft, commercial dancer

my giraffe legs.”

In high school, my friends used to call me “Little Kate,” because I was only five feet tall until my senior year. Then, my growth spurt hit. Suddenly, I was 5′ 8″—significantly taller than the average ballet dancer—and my new legs were
-long. That made for a lot of awkwardness; it was especially hard to rediscover my balance.

But while it’s still difficult to find partners who can handle my extra length, long limbs come with so many advantages. I love my line in arabesque, and it’s fun to show off my legs in a tutu. —Katharine Precourt, first soloist, Houston Ballet

Bri Kraft (Photo by Vince Trupsin, courtesy Kraft)

Katharine Precourt (Photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy Houston Ballet)