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Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and HealthAquatic Insects Vol. 3, No.

2, July 2011, 152173

Ballet and pain: reections on a risk-dance culture

Krista McEwen and Kevin Young*
Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Received 9 February 2011; nal version received 9 February 2011) This qualitative study of Western Canadian dancers explores how elements of the ballet world, and associated risk-taking behaviours, affect the physical and emotional health of dancers. Authoritarian power structures, intensely competitive training and performing environments, and hyper-critical and perfectionist attitudes of instructors and performers are found to be ubiquitous pressures that initially appear to facilitate success in dance but may ultimately compromise health. Drawing upon existing knowledge from the sociology of sport, we conceive of ballet as a culture of risk that normalises pain and injury and encourages dancers to understand and talk about their pain in ways that both suppress and trivialise it. In addition, the paininjury experience was found to have negative emotional consequences, such as feelings of crisis and loss, shame, guilt and anxiety for dancers who are complicit in accepting the often unhealthy conventions of the dance subculture, including problem approaches to eating and weight. Finally, because existing literatures have shown that gender and risk intersect in human movement cultures (such as sport and dance), the paper also considers the gender dimensions of ballet, and the ways in which the core identities of participants grow uneasily out of a setting that both rewards and hurts dancers. Keywords: ballet; risk; injury; pain; power

Introduction This study examines the relationship between dance and health. Specically, it explores the ways in which a dancing lifestyle and being a member of the ballet community can impact both the physical and emotional well-being of participants, as well as examining the more general cultural climate that shapes these experiences. Conventionally, dance is considered an art form that revolves around creating displays of aesthetic beauty and evoking an emotional response from an audience. As the corps de ballet interact in perfect harmony, movements appear so effortless that the health ramications for performers are rarely in question, or even evident. However, while often a rewarding lifestyle or career choice in some respects, there is also a darker downside, only one dimension of which is the requirement of living with pain and injury. Indeed, as brought into sharp relief by the recent Hollywood lm Black Swan, a number of negative health patterns and outcomes characterise the world of ballet. Kelsos austere summary is not an overstatement: in the

*Corresponding author. Email:

ISSN 2159-676X print/ISSN 2159-6778 online 2011 Taylor & Francis

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shadows of the spotlight lurks an abusive world of eating disorders, verbal harassment, erce competition, and injured, fatigued, malnourished dancers (2003, p. 1). In light of the fact that dance, and certainly ballet, is conceived and organised as a closed and unied tradition (Novack 1993, p. 46), it is important both for the health of individual dancers and the culture of dance itself that these issues be examined critically. The existing dance literature is increasingly rich (e.g. Kelso 2003, Turner and Wainwright 2003, Adams 2005, Wainwright et al. 2005, Wainwright and Turner 2006, Aalten 2007, Pickard 2007, Wulff 2008, Forte 2010), but much of it theoretically understands dance as a text, often marginalising the liminal experiences of dancers (Wainwright et al. 2005, p. 50). In an effort to contribute to our understanding of dancers experiences with the risk, pain and injury associated with their occupation or lifestyle, in-depth interviews with Canadian dancers were conducted. In addition to drawing upon, where available, sociological interpretations of dance and ballet, this paper also implements literature from another branch of the parent discipline where risk and hurt have been studied the sociology of sport. While some scholars and dancers would claim that dance is more art than sport, others have argued that due to the physically demanding nature of this pursuit, dancers are elite athletes for all intents and purposes (Mayes 1995, p. B1). As one dancer in this study remarked tellingly, you cant be one without the other . At the very least, it is true that ballet requires both artistic and athletic skill sets. The rapidly expanding literature on risk, pain, injury and physicality in sport (cf. Young 2004, p. 1) is used as a conceptual framework for analysing dancers experiences with a view towards expanding what is currently known about ballet and health. Ballet, pain and the business of risk In an entertainment culture that is essentially geared to creating a technically and aesthetically pleasing outcome, the concept of risk does not at rst glance appear to apply to this world of tutus, pointe shoes, make-up, lighting and whimsical drama. As Adams contends, risk is not generally a concept through which we make sense of dance and the very discourses drawn upon to interpret the performing arts tend to veil and trivialise these risks (2005, p. 83). Nevertheless, the intrinsically physical nature of dance and the often gruelling lifestyle required of a dancer entails that, just like sport, dance is deeply and poignantly risk business (Brinson and Dick 1996, p. 19). Training often begins for dancers at a young age, possibly even as young as three years old,1 although males tend to start their training later in life (Adair 1992, p. 87). The dance class is a cornerstone ritual of this culture, and the dancer can expect to study from the very beginning stages of training and into and throughout a professional career. Establishing control of the body and gaining stamina, exibility, strength and technique through repetition represent the principal dimensions of this learning (Adair 1992, p. 35). As Hamilton notes, dancers learn to put in maximum effort, analyze mistakes, and try again after they fail in the name of discipline (1998, p. 38). Hours of repetitive barre exercises, rehearsing, performing and touring are the norm. When considered in the context of environmental factors such as poor ooring and cold studios, the dancers lifestyle can be a draining and inherently risky one in which pain and hurt are simply inevitable and expected (Aalten 2007, p. 115).


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To date, only a few sociological studies have explored the world of dancerelated pain and injury, and through varying theoretical lenses. For instance, Aalten (2007) has drawn upon Leder s absent body theory to show that dancers engage in a process of silencing the body. Where normally the body remains silent until such a time as a stimulus, such as pain or physical hurt of some kind, brings it into the human consciousness, Aalten claims the absence of the body in the world of ballet is not passive and taken-for-granted, but an absence that is actively achieved and sought out (2007, p. 122). In addition, the belief that the balletic body is malleable creates the notion that practice and perseverance will lead to invulnerability and improvement, and thus the pain and suffering involved in this moulding process is considered necessary and even somewhat heroic (p. 122). Wainwright and colleagues explored how the consequences of an injury can threaten not only the career, but also the core identities of dancers (2005, p. 52). And elsewhere, Turner and Wainwright employed Durkheims concepts of social solidarity and collective consciousness to show how dancers injury experiences are mediated by working within a company or institutional corps de ballet setting (2003, p. 69). While occasional references are made in such literature to the sorts of pain- and injury-related studies of athletes that one nds in a far richer sociology of sport literature, the experiences of dancers per se have not been systematically analysed using this work. If we agree that risk taking frequently occurs in social settings in which risk is valued, and in which the participants consent to engage in such behaviors (Donnelly 2004, p. 44), then it becomes important to look to the world of dance the people who populate and govern it and the norms and experiences that shape it. Specically, conceiving of dance as a culture of risk allows us to explore both the risky endeavours themselves and the institutional elements that shape them. Initially applied in sociological studies of sport by researchers such as Nixon (1992, 1993, 1994a, 1994b, 1996), Sabo (1986), Young (1993, 1997), Young et al. (1994), and Young and White (1995), and then slightly later outside of North America by social scientists such as Howe (2004), Roderick (1998, 2006), Roderick et al. (2000), Malcolm (2009), Malcolm and Sheard (2002), Pike and Maguire (2003), Allen-Collinson (2005), Smith (2008a, 2008b), and Sparkes and Smith (2008), as well as others from North America (e.g. Safai (2003), Theberge (1997), Wacquant (1998, 2004)), the notion of the culture of risk has been understood to encourage the normalisation of injury. Arguably, this genre of work is eminently applicable, though in varying ways and for varying reasons, to bodycentred performance trades, such as dance. As one small illustration of injury normalisation within the dance community, in a study of British dancers it was found that 83% of ballet professionals and 84% of contemporary professionals had sustained an average of three injuries in the previous twelve months, indicating that risk of injury is indeed a normal part of life for a dancer (Brinson and Dick 1996, p. 43). But little is known of how dancers live injury that is to say, how they experience and make sense of it, and what allows them to want to and be able to return from it. In brief, this paper contributes to a growing but still relatively sparse dance-health literature by exploring the ways in which dancers understand their physical and emotional pain and the associated health outcomes, as well as the ways that these experiences have been shaped by their membership in the riskdance subculture.

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Methods This qualitative study involved semi-structured interviews with 15 professional and aspiring professional ballet dancers, working and residing in Western Canada, between April 2009 and June 2010. The interpretive approach employed enriched our understanding of the dance subculture as participants were able to describe, in their own terms, vocabularies and categories, how their specic experiences, understandings, thoughts and feelings related to their bodily pain were shaped and responded to by the dance environment. Assuming that social interaction between the participant and the researcher is an inevitable part of the interview process, these interviews cannot and should not be separated from the social interaction through which they were produced (Mason 2002, p. 64). In this way, data generated in the interviews can be understood as a reconstruction of respondents experiences, thoughts and feelings rather than an excavation of literal facts or truth (Mason 2002, p. 64), though we believe that our interpretations and understandings closely align with what our respondents intended to convey. Appropriate institutional ethics approval was obtained although this was a minimum-risk study, we ensured that participants were apprised of their withdrawal rights at every turn, and interview locations were selected by the respondents themselves and all dancers consented to their involvement. In the interests of anonymity, we offered all respondents the choice of selecting a pseudonym or having one provided by us. None chose the former route, and we assigned identity-protecting aliases in every case. Of the 15 dancers interviewed, 13 were female, but only two were male, reecting the general trend that women tend to comprise a larger proportion of the dance world. The average age of respondents was a youthful 21 years. All participants were Caucasian, reported middle to upper class backgrounds, and were Canadian citizens, with the exception of one female from South Africa studying ballet in Canada. Eight of the dancers were in full-time pre-professional training programmes, four were teachers who had either trained or danced professionally in the past and two were still dancing professionally. One was, at the time of the interviews, sidelined with injury and thus unable to perform. All of the dancers had trained extensively, some since the age of three. In brief, all of the respondents were experienced members of the dance community, but represented different stages of their performing careers. Lasting between 45 and 60 minutes, interviews were loosely structured and conversational in nature and were organised based on themes emerging from some of the literatures on dance/body and pain/injury in the sociology of sport mentioned earlier (Young and White 1995, Wainwright et al. 2005, Aalten 2007). One of the authors has performed and taught dance for a total of 20 years, and thus our insider knowledge aided in gaining access to this subculture and sharpening the validity of the question material, as well as enabling dancers to speak freely and condently using the often jargon-laden language of the dance world. Insider intimacy also allowed us to go back in some cases to respondents whose testimony we felt that we needed clarication on. A snowball sample was established, and interviews took place in participants homes or public meeting places. Interviews were systematically analysed for important themes, concepts and patterns, again using the existing dance and sociology of sport literature as a thematic template.


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Subcultural pressures: power, competition and perfection

Reactions to pain are not simply instinctual, but take place within a social context and contain a voluntary component in that action to relieve pain may or may not be sought. (Williams and Bendelow 1998, p. 165)

According to Kleinman, it is culture that lls the existential space between the immediate embodiment of [pain] as a physiological process and its meaning-laden character as experience (1988, p. 27). In other words, it is important to examine the subcultural pressures that shape the dancer s experiences in relation to the body. We found that the dancers we interviewed repeatedly referred to the hierarchical power structures and relations that underpin the dance world, its competitive atmospheres and the drive to achieve perfection, all of which collectively tend to encourage, indeed enforce, adherence to a culture of risk. By no means mutually exclusive, these elements work together, along with other structural and organisational pressures, to frame and produce the dancers understanding of pain and injury. Perhaps the most pervasive of these elements is the hierarchical power relations of the dance world that place the administrators, choreographers, ballet masters or mistresses and teachers at the top, and the dancers squarely at the bottom of this microcosmic social ladder. Indeed, as Smith claims, the dance classroom is an ideal climate for authoritarian behaviour; instantly, the teacher is placed in a position of power and control (1998, p. 128). Enmeshed in a discourse of hard-earned expertise and credentialism, an environment of unquestioned adherence is created and, sometimes, feared (Jones et al. 2005, p. 378). According to all of the dancers we spoke to, teachers maintained a you-obey-me attitude, and the appropriate role response of a dancer in training is to put on a brave face and do what they say. As Pickard contends: the dancer wishes to conform to specic standards to be seen as a good dancer . . . [and] so may learn to discipline him- or herself to conform through selfregulation and unconscious habit through fear of criticism or rejection (2007, p. 43). Additionally, the dancers frequently referred to an ultra-competitive atmosphere that pervaded their dance lives and which, as in Hamiltons research, they understood as simply an unalterable fact of dance life (1998, p. 78). Hamiltons work shows that only 22% of female dancers have full-time dance positions compared with 61% of male dancers (p. 103). While men do fair better, well-paying dance jobs are still few and far between. Even once a dancer has been accepted into a professional company, the hierarchical ranking conventions among the participants ensure that they are still competing for revered roles and the renewal of contracts for future seasons (Adair 1992, p. 19). Thus, the dancers in our study understood that they needed to attain a certain level of skill and even surpass their peers in order to be successful:
You sort of have to compete with the other people around you cause thats how you progress. We all know once we get into companies it will always be competitive trying to get to the next stage. Trying to become a soloist, trying to become a principal. Trying to work your way up the ladder. (Paige) If you see a girl in front of you at the barre and her leg is higher, you are like Im gonna get my leg even higher! Its [the competition] healthy. (Georgia)

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Often as a result of the pressure placed on dancers, in addition to their own drives to succeed, a hyper-critical and perfectionist (and obviously potentially unhealthy) attitude can develop where the dancer makes no allowances for aws (Hamilton 1998, p. 127). While this mantra may be benecial for correcting mistakes or weaknesses in skill, it often leaves the dancers feeling defeated since the ideal seems always out of reach. As Meredith explained:
[A] very true quote about ballet is that ballet is the art of perfection in which perfection can never be achieved. So I think we are perfectionists, and I think that we just strive for that perfection, especially being in that corps de ballet situation or company classes. There are mirrors all around so you are forced to be constantly analyzing and criticizing and being corrected and taking this correction to be better, and pushing yourself and comparing yourself to the person next to you.

The type of compulsion Meredith described may encourage what Nixon has labelled a self-abusive addiction where the dancer refuses to accept anything less than a perfect performance, even in training (1993, p. 189). In addition to talking about how they feel, in several dancers words, addicted to dancing and honing their skills, respondents also explained how this subculture had taught them to overcome obstacles, to be hardworking and dedicated. In this respect, and to draw a parallel to a recurring and important theme in the sociology of sport literature, it could be said that dancers are deviant over-conformers to the sport-dance ethic; similar to athletes, they make sacrices, strive for distinction, accept risks and refuse limits practices that initially facilitate success but ultimately compromise health (Hughes and Coakley 1991). We return to the complex relationship between dancers and risk in our nal discussion, but now turn to the mechanisms used by performers to understand and live with hurt.

Bodies in pain: sense-making strategies When invited to elaborate on their experiences with pain and injury, an astonishing array of physical ailments were described by the dancers. These included, but were not restricted to, the following conditions: a torn meniscus, broken toes, pulled hamstrings, metatarsal fractures, severe cartilage degeneration, torn ligaments, MCL tears, patellofemoral syndrome (chondromalacia knee pain), fractured bulas, torn muscles and various combinations of muscle strains, sprains, chronic hip, knee, and back pain, and bruised toe nails. When asked how she dealt with the daily reality of physical hurt in a post-secondary dance programme, Samantha described how pain was just a normal part of life: You are numb to it. You are completely numb to it . . . you dont even notice it anymore. But your bruises just keep on building and I swear your body just becomes numb to it. Its just a constant nuisance. Despite this nuisance, Samantha continued to dance and tolerate her bodily discomfort. Similarly, Ethan took his pain in his stride, trying to cope and accepting that the physical risk is an inevitable side effect of his pre-professional training with a regional ballet company: Its really hard to deal with all this pain all the time. There is lots of icing, lots of massage, and I try to avoid worrying about it because I know its all part of the course. In general, our data strongly suggest that dancers willingly conform to what Sabo calls the pain principle, which refers to a largely patriarchal belief system in


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which pain is considered inevitable and that ones worth is enhanced through endurance (2004, p. 64). Young et al. found that male athletes conformed to this philosophy since continuing to play with pain is viewed as appropriate male behavior (1994, p. 182), and Young (1997) similarly reported this approach with female athletes. How, then, are we to understand dancers willingness to risk their health? Just as Young and White (1995, p. 51) and Young (1997) found that male and female athletes adopted consistent techniques to displace the centrality of pain in their lives, we found that dancers understand and talk about their pain in ways that suppress and trivialise it. The four strategies of neutralising pain introduced by Young et al. (1994) (hidden, disrespected, unwelcomed and depersonalised pain) are thus used here, along with the additional strategy of welcomed pain, to analyse dancers narratives regarding their health. Hidden pain. Perhaps the most common strategy dancers employed to make sense of their pain and suffering was to ignore, deny or actively silence the body. Indeed, their narratives were replete with clichd language and terms such as push through it, suck it up and dont think about it. Georgia described a scenario in which a sense of obligation and adherence to the notion that the show must go on, a commonly used phrase in balletic jargon, shaped her reaction to her foot injury:
Im good at pushing through the pain. Thats why when I broke the piece of bone off my ankle, I was in the middle of a show so I still carried on dancing for another week and a half. It was [the size of] half a lemon but I just ignored it which is stupid, really stupid, but . . . I had no cover so I just had to dance.

Karen, a 22-year-old retiree, tried to actively silence the pain she was feeling in a similar fashion to the process described by Aalten whereby the body in pain is habitually silenced into a mode of bodily absence in order to allow the dancer to continue working (2007, p. 118). As she explained, Karen found that this course of action had negative consequences in terms of her recovery from a shin injury:
I would try to just focus on what I was doing rather than the pain . . . that did help but it almost made it worse. I could dance through it but it didnt help it get better. Especially when I was doing my solo seal2 or doing an audition, I could do everything and I wouldnt pay attention to the pain, but that made it worse.

Often, it is the pressure felt about upcoming important events in the dancer s life that might encourage the disguising of pain from others and from the self. Those in training are, it seems, constantly anxious to prove to their teachers that they are worthy of the instruction they are receiving and not in any way a distraction or a dead weight. When Liam was training at a prestigious Canadian institution, his school required students to reaudition for entrance each year:
It got so serious that, like, I remember it was beyond [painful]. I didnt want to stop cause I was like I need to get back into the school, I need to prove to them that I can dance, so I hid the injury and danced through it and it hurt so much.

In relation to her chronic foot and knee problems, Claire demonstrated the extent to which dancers are aware of the risk that hiding an injury can create. While acknowledging that ignoring pain to the point where one can no longer function is obviously unhealthy and I denitely learned my lesson, her account was lled

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with examples of routinely hiding pain to the point of incapacitation. Claire certainly recognised the hazards of this approach, but actively chose to place her body in harms way in the hopes of maintaining her momentum on the path to becoming a professional dancer. For some dancers, the lesson that hiding pain may ultimately be counter-productive and unhealthy does not hit home until the consequences are too severe to ignore. Following surgery to correct her ankle problem, Sydney now cringes when she hears the phrase pushing through it and describes how she has adopted a new perspective on listening to, rather than silencing, her body. But we found this attitude of critical reection to be rare in our sample. After her ten-year stage career and repeatedly having to deal with degenerating cartilage in her knees, at the age of 30 Meredith confessed that she was just starting to listen:
I have learned to listen more because I realize now that if I would have listened to my knees and gone to get a second opinion, I could have prevented this moderate-tosevere stage [of degeneration]. I was used to being able to do whatever I wanted. I was used to being able to push my body without a lot of severe consequence. I have realized that its something Im really conscious of now, especially in the way I work.

While most of the dancers did speak openly of working with their bodies and listening to them, it was also equally evident in all of the narratives that vulnerability is constantly suppressed and ballet participants are typically only willing to adopt the mantra of listening to the body when faced with, or recovering from, severe injury. Disrespected pain. In a similar fashion to athletes, the dancers in our study tended to adopt an attitude of irreverence towards everyday pain in addition to differentiating pain from injury (Young et al. 1994, p. 184). When asked how they dealt with everyday hurt, typical answers included the following: you get used to it (Liam), its no big deal (Naomi), walk it off (Megan), and its nothing serious (Beth). Anna, a dance student training or performing up to six hours a day, ve days a week, summed up this type of approach unequivocally:
It [ballet] hurts get over it! Pretty much everyday you wake up you are in pain. In this kind of program something hurts! Whether its just sore or an injury, you will hurt every day!

Anna was not alone, however, in distinguishing so starkly between pain and injury. Beth opined that a dancer should suck it up unless he or she is really injured, which she went on to dene in terms of a severe physical problem requiring surgery. After describing how everyone in dance suffers routine bruises and chronic soreness, Paige explained the circumstances of her rst actual injury (torn ligaments of the ankle requiring prolonged physiotherapy). Her comments demonstrate that since pain is such a normal and expected feature of a life in dance, it is often hard to determine which version of pain is accepted and which is not:
Everybody has pain when we are dancing. I guess everyone has something thats not feeling perfect that day and they have to deal with it and they have to be smart and decide how much is too much pain and at what point they need to sit down or if its something that they can dance through. Its hard making those calls.


K. McEwen and K. Young

Unwelcomed pain. Young and colleagues argue that one of the motivations for concealing pain is that it is poorly received by teammates, coaches, and others (1994, p. 184). In a similar fashion, the ballet dancers we spoke to expressed concern in terms of teachers, peers and the decision-makers in professional settings, such as artistic directors. For them, to display pain and physical weakness and, by extension, personal vulnerability is to call into question the dancers ability, dedication and commitment in the eyes of instructors and others responsible for opening doors in the world of dance. Given that it is conventionally the teacher s authority and expertise that can make or break a dancing career, instructors were approached (and described) with apprehension. Consulting them on injury was a concern for all respondents:
Its rough on all of us. Our knees knock when we have to go tell a teacher that we have hurt ourselves cause, you know, you are scared of them. You are nervous cause you dont want to look like youre slacking or youre taking it easy or youre being lazy. (Georgia) We are all a little bit afraid to tell teachers about injuries because we know that they are not too pleased. Im not sure if they really do, but it seems like they blame people when they are injured. They are saying well its because you werent doing this properly and everyone is trying their best but they are annoyed with people when they are injured cause its not convenient and its not helpful and its frustrating when they are trying to help us get better when we have to sit out and come back a little bit weaker. Its always scary telling them so people try not to and then their injuries get worse. (Paige)

Since the dance culture so obviously requires that dancers work industriously and committedly (and certainly through pain), those who appear to be taking time off for tolerable pain may be criticised by others and accused of faking it, making excuses, or simply unable to make the required sacrices. Ethan reported that a fellow dancer had the audacity to call him lazy despite her own struggles with injury. Samantha perceived that her classmates thought that she was complaining all the time and doubted how honest she was being about pain. As Georgia noted, to have people glaring at you, whispering about you is just horrible. Once the transition is made into professional dancing, the added element of being paid to perform encourages pain-suppression even further: Im being paid to be a product, so if Im like oh, I dont think I can be doing this right now, it feels a little strange because its like well what are you paying me for right? (ballet company apprentice, Liam). At an audition, Meredith chose to hide her knee injury. When asked to explain her choice, she compared hiring an injured dancer to buying a shirt that has a hole in it, noting that even the most rational consumer would prefer a different shirt than one showing obvious signs of damage. Welcomed pain. Expanding on the notion that expressing pain is unwelcomed by others, we also found that, in certain situations, pain may, in fact, be welcomed (Sparkes and Smith 2008) and even required by the dancers themselves. For some dancers, masking pain by taking painkillers was dangerous. In these cases, pain becomes a warning signal from the body that the dancer is pushing too hard or is not executing a step correctly. Often pain is encouraged so that a current injury does not become worse. Samantha talked about how her pain helps her push her own physical boundaries and become a better dancer:

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Its kind of the whole pain-for-pleasure thing I feel where in order to improve you put yourself through that much more pain to get to that next level and then you start again, where to get to the next level you brutalize your body in order to do it.

Described as Zatopekian pain3 by Pickard (2007, p. 45), this type of positive pain is understood as a means of enhancing performance as well as increasing pain thresholds:
During class, if I was in a lot of pain I would sit out and, odd as it sounds, I would increase the amount of pain on my foot and then I felt like the amount of pain I was feeling while I was dancing didnt matter as much. (Samantha)

In similarly welcoming ways, Karen commented that she and fellow dancers frequently compared and contrasted their injuries, almost bearing them like a badge of honour or something to be proud of, indicating that the dancer is indeed willing to sacrice his or her body for the required aesthetic outcome. For instance, Meredith described how dancing in infamously painful and unhealthy pointe shoes is a rite of passage in the sense that it is so exciting that you are willing to put up with the pain that comes along with it. Similarly, Aalten found that dancers learned to regard pain as a sign of personal improvement and gaining strength (2007, p. 114). From this perspective, pain is such a normal and permanent part of this culture that not only is it accepted, but it is embraced in order to achieve practical, if arduous and possibly physically damaging, goals. Depersonalised pain. In an effort to distance themselves from the blame and judgment laid upon them by instructors and peers, dancers will often conceive of their injured bodies in depersonalised and distancing ways. As Williams and Bendelow contend, the painful body is an alien thing-like presence that emerges separate from the self (1998, p. 160). A mind-body dualism is created through this ostracising process whereby the self and the body bifurcate. To be in pain is to be betrayed by the body:
I felt like why is my body doing this to me?, I felt like I didnt deserve it, I felt like I worked hard, I felt like I should be able to dance. Also . . . I never felt like I was good enough, my body never quite did what I wanted it to, I feel like I didnt understand it . . . I always felt at war with my body. (Beth) I could always get my body to try it, but try it too many times and your body gives out. So its a battle in yourself. Its like, well, I can do this much of it, but I cant do all of it, and then you feel peer pressure, right. Everyone feels peer pressure. Its like well why cant you do this? and its like well my body cant do it. (Megan, emphasis added)

Commenting on the rigorous training schedule at a pre-professional school, Paige acknowledged that she was not surprised that she became injured since your body just gives out. This is in contrast to the nding that male athletes do not acknowledge ownership of pain in the body as a whole (Young 1994, p. 185); instead, they tend to locally isolate body parts as giving out. In fact, emphasising differentiation and contradiction rather than complete homogeneity within the dance culture, this depersonalising approach to pain was only found in a portion of our dancers narratives, suggesting that overall dancers use of this sense-making strategy is somewhat more ambiguous and complex. Given that the dancer is striving to achieve bodily


K. McEwen and K. Young

control, and with reference to Paiges earlier comment that dancers are blamed for not executing a technique properly, perhaps dancers understand their injuries on a more personal level than some athletes, taking the responsibility upon themselves. Regardless, the experience of injury and pain was found to be a wake-up call for some: its kind of a humbling experience . . . you remember that you are human and that your body is fragile (Meredith). Emotional pain and suffering Since the literature on athletes has reported that experiencing pain and injury can be one of the most emotionally and psychologically traumatic things that can happen to an athlete (Petrie 1993, p. 18, Young et al. 1994), we also enquired about dancers emotional responses to pain. According to Nixon, a culture of risk can foster feelings such as guilt, shame, uncertainty, job insecurity, frustration and possibly depression in athletes (1993, p. 188). Our dancers proved to be no exception. For example, when Georgias problems ared up, she often entertained the notion of changing career paths: it might be better for me emotionally or psychologically cause ballet is tough! The following section focuses on the introspective thoughts of dancers as an embodied and physical form of consciousness (Allen Collinson 2005, p. 222). As such, emotions such as guilt, shame, disappointment as well as pride are understood as reexive-role emotions, or emotional self-conceptions (Shott 1979, p. 1324). These emotions are typically directed towards the self and become managed through a self-dialogue that all dancers seem to encounter and understand (Snyder 1990, p. 262). While the majority of our dancers explained the importance of remaining positive when injured and in pain, the often devastating consequences of physical risk-taking in dance left many of the dancers with what Liam called emotional demons. Crisis, loss and fear. Being sidelined by an injury, or not being able to execute steps correctly, for some dancers called into question their core identities. The years of training, commitment and passion required creates a self-image that is dependent on, for example, completing the famous 32 fouett turns in Swan Lake, or more generally, displaying physical prowess and strength. Dancers reported feeling confused and apprehensive and expressed a fear that their worlds were ending (Anna) when faced with the practical realities of pain. Samantha felt as though she were losing herself when dealing with the chronic foot pain that eventually required her to exit the stage:
It feels like you are becoming less when you cant really do that, or you are not being really who you are, when you are not able to fully do what you want to do. It denitely takes away from the feeling that you know who you are, because you start to get lost. If you cant [dance] then what else are you going to do? . . . It feels like you are starting to lose a sense of who you are. Its hard. You almost feel like you are slipping into some sort of depression because youve built yourself around this image for so long and if you cant be that image then what else can you be?

Further, those dancers who commit to the point of obsession, the ones who embrace dancing in an unquestioning and almost addictive manner, are left with no other resources to help them feel fullled:
I had absolutely no other interests at all. So when I felt like I couldnt dance any more I basically felt completely unworthy, like I didnt have any worth, I didnt have a

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place to t in. I also believed that people only liked me because I was a dancer . . . You feel like thats all you have in your life and when you cant dance you feel horrible about yourself. And dance is also a way that I get self-condence so if I cant dance then I have nothing. And thats frightening. (Beth)

These sorts of feelings and fears corroborate the ndings of Wainwright et al. that injury threatens to shatter the entire habitus of the dancer and thus creates a profound crisis in a dancer s identity (2005, p. 51). Fears regarding career setbacks were also expressed, especially for those dancers in training. As Paige commented, there are so many people with the same dream and there are only so many spots. Fear was also discussed in terms of both pre-injury as well as recovery stages. For instance, Liam reported being terried of one day losing control and doing something big to his body, such as rupturing a knee or tearing a tendon. Ethan confessed having to overcome his fear of jumping, something that had the potential to cause a relapse in the healing of his fractured bula. Despite these elements of crisis, loss and fear, however, it was clear from our sample that dancers will often do whatever it takes to conrm or reconrm their identities as viable and employable members of the dance subculture. Anger, blame, shame and guilt. Obsessed with the fear of missing key opportunities, dancers often feel a certain degree of antagonism towards their employment and career circumstances. Meredith described going through cycles of anger and denial, and Liam claimed that he was never at peace with his injury. In many cases, a great deal of anger and blame was directed towards the medical profession and doctors inabilities to effectively diagnose and treat problems, as well as a lack of empathy and support towards dancers needs. This, again, directly mirrors ndings from athlete studies in the sociology of sport (Young et al. 1994, Young and White 1995, Young 1997). As Allen-Collinson argues, this type of anger is well documented in the sport literature and often a portion of this emotion was self-directed due to a feeling of misplaced trust (2005, p. 228). Liam reported not pushing his doctor for an MRI on his injured ankle and thus wasted time and likely increased the severity of his injury. When asked how he felt about this scenario, he openly expressed resentment towards his own judgment: I think its bullshit because its not the rst time and its my hesitance to question people to their face that has led me to this. Further, Beth believed that medical practitioners do not understand dancers, in her case directly contrasting dance with sport: they dont see it [dance] as important as sport. Overall, dancers described feeling bitter, jaded and frustrated with the quality of medical care they received. Once again, this closely parallels current knowledge on athlete experiences with injury where negotiating hurt is often responded to unsympathetically or inconsistently (Roderick 1998, 2006, Roderick et al. 2000, Malcolm and Sheard 2002, Howe 2004, Malcolm 2009). Dancers frequently blame themselves for their pain and suffering which, in turn, can lead to negative self-dialogues or poor emotional self-conceptions. Samantha was frequently forced to sit out of her classes due to her pain: Whenever I sat out, or kind of made an excuse, it felt like I was letting myself down or kind of failing in a sense. Ethan also felt a sense of responsibility for his struggles:
I think that there is a lot of guilt involved if you have an injury, and that is something I have experienced myself. Especially because I remember my technique improving so much and then nding out that I had a stress fracture really made me think but I was doing so well, what did I do wrong?


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As Liam explained, criticism, like self-judgment is so big, so hard to get over, especially as a dancer, I think its so common. He went on to describe his overall relationship with his body as a contradictory one typied by feelings of both pride and shame:
So my relationship with my body is not a very healthy one because I dont see it for what it is. And the pride-shame thing makes sense. If you think youre a piece of shit and everybody is judging you, then when you think you look good you should think everyone is worshipping you. And neither one is healthy. You go from really cocky to really, really ashamed. Im not very kind to my body in terms of thought and belief and what I tell it in my head. I wanna take care of it, I wanna keep it in good shape, but I still believe a lot of shit thats not true.

It was clear that the emotional welfare and health of our dancers was affected by adhering to the culture of risk. Beyond the overall decreased levels of happiness and well-being of the dancers as individuals, the emotional anxiety felt can interfere with performance or even prolong the recovery from a physical injury (Hamilton 1998, p. 129). Cumulatively, the emotional and physical suffering endured by dancers on a daily basis was accepted with a degree of resignation and even resentment. The paradox of such a situation is that dancers abuse the very tool that they are endeavouring to mould and perfect (the body), endangering their future participation. In order to make the best of what is widely acknowledged to be a short career, dancers push their bodies to the breaking point and often risk abbreviating or even ending careers by not listening to them. Crucially, as we now go on to explain, it is equally clear that a further constellation of related unhealthy psychological and emotional dimensions grow out of this culture of risk and also strongly impact dancers lives and identities. Weight management and body pathology as a part of the riskinjury complex As suggested earlier, the lm Black Swan, which in a number of disturbing ways mirrors our data, underlines how managing weight and body image represents a constant struggle for dancers. While we primarily asked dancers questions related to physical risk, pain and injury, perhaps predictably, responses quickly took us in the direction of body image, appearance and eating habits. As with Johns (2004), our study leads us to understand weight management as a form of sport injury that has both physical and emotional implications for dancers. Paralleling the preference for slim bodies in Western countries and the emergence of a fat phobic society (Jennings 2006, p. 15), dancers strive to achieve the sylph-like, thin ballet body. As Vincent writes with a degree of sarcasm, if obsession with fat is a [North American] pastime, then surely dancers are Olympic contenders (1979, p. 6). Our respondent Naomi understands that dancers are held to an even more rigorous standard: just as a normal person Im happy with [my body] but in the dance world Im not satised because it would be a lot easier to get a job if I had skinny legs. As is the case in the world of sport (Davis 2007), female dancers especially are known to limit and discipline their eating, engaging in bingeing and purging as well as using laxatives and other unhealthy means to control their weight (Pickard 2007, p. 38). In the course of daily training, dancers, immersed as they are in a culture of intense and continual physical self-awareness, are constantly confronted with improving their body shape through the use of wall mirrors and forms of

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omnipresent self-surveillance that greatly inuence body image perceptions, including notions of self-esteem and condence (Price and Pettijohn 2006, p. 992):
From the minute I can remember, I always felt like I was fat, I always felt like I was basically ugly, and I always felt like I wasnt good enough. (Beth) [Y]ou are [dressed] in leotard and tights every day in front of the mirror, and you can see every single aw, you can see every little inch of fat or skin on your body and its really hard to keep your head right and not want to be stupid. Of course, you want to be beautiful, and yes, you have to be slim but you dont want to be anorexic because then you will have no strength and you are more prone to getting injured. (Georgia)

Georgia is referring here to one of the key paradoxes of the dance world the fact that dancers need to remain thin and yet they must maintain a high level of muscle and stamina in order to perform. While dieting is understood as part of the constant work a dancer is required to impose upon the body (Aalten 2007, p. 117), the potential for injury clearly increases as pathological body choices (eating, nutrition and habits such as cigarette smoking) are made (Kirkland and Lawrence 1986). Ballet masters, teachers and artistic directors the gatekeepers of the profession (Aalten 2007, p. 113) often reinforce body shape requirements in terms of what Johns refers to as the binary opposition between the authority and power of the coach and the over-conforming willingness of the athlete (2004, p. 129). For example, Meredith cited scenarios in which she was told to try more fruits and vegetables in order to prepare her body for the form-tting costumes of an upcoming performance. Despite this reinforcement, however, dancers obsession with their bodies often comes from within and their individual desire to achieve perfection. Both the physical and emotional pain experienced as a result of this type of injury may have serious ramications for health and wellness of ballerinas: This type of injury is so serious that it is capable of eclipsing a promising sports [dance] career in which the disease process, in particular cases, has been fatal (Johns 2004, p. 129). Gendered ballet: the danseur Never far removed from the question of weight and body image, only a cursory glance at the dance industry is needed to reveal how deeply gendered it is, as indeed injury and pain experiences have often (but not always) been found to be (e.g. Young 1993, 1997, Young and White 1995). Given that females often overpopulate the world of dance (Fisher 2009, p. 38), it is not surprising that the experiences of men are often downplayed or marginalised. As previously mentioned, only two of the dancers interviewed in this study were male and, as such, their unique perspectives will be discussed here in terms of individual experiences rather than those of the male dance community at large. While there has been a growth in attention paid to this area in recent years (e.g. Burt 1995, Gard 2006, Fisher and Shay 2009), more research is needed to explore issues of physicality, embodiment and the injury and pain experiences of male dancers. What has been described as the problem of the male dancer refers to the fears, presumptions and stereotypes, including labels such as girly, sissy, and faggot that surround the danseur (Adams 2005, p. 64). Both of the male interviewees described how living with homophobic stereotypes can be a source of uncertainty and


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struggle. Since the late 1800s, the male dancer has been viewed as an effeminate prancing prince (Adams 2005). By using his body to express artistic qualities and emotions, in conjunction with the very fact that his body is on display, the dancer challenges dominant notions of appropriate ways of doing gender and being a man. In an effort to change public perceptions of the man who dances, a common approach has been to employ what Fisher calls the making it macho strategy that conceptualises dance as a masculine, athletic endeavour (2009, p. 33). This approach, as explained by Adams, maintains that the similarity between the sporting body and the dancing body is evidence of the manliness of male dancers:
Male athletes are considered manly; dancers look like athletes; therefore, dancers must be manly too. In this equation, effeminacy and strength are mutually exclusive, and the shape and feel and look of bodies are seen to be key to gender identity and gender status. (2005, p. 64)

Miller and Penz have described a scenario where female bodybuilders poach on masculine turf by emphasising the feminine aspects of their sport and thereby validating it as a gender-appropriate activity (1991, p. 159). In a similar fashion, but in gender-reverse, it could be said that men encroach on what is, in popular thought, a feminine occupation to accentuate macho features of dance. Liam takes this strategy one step further by claiming that male dancers may be even more masculine than conventional athletes:
[I]ts a pretty masculine thing we are doing, I think. Its really physical. I think of like a baseball player as the denition of a man and hes like so fat and not exible at all and cant run and its like Im a man! Then you look at ballet dancers and they are considered sissies and we are lifting women, we are extremely agile and we can actually [jump high] off the ground. [We are] so t.

While scorning dominant or hegemonic denitions of masculinity, Liam continually drew comparisons between the dance world and the sporting world through the use of athletic terminology. He spoke, for instance, about fears of being sidelined, his desire to be a heavyweight player in his company, and the fact that a dance performance is like a playoff game. Similarly, Ethan recognised that there are a lot of elements in ballet that are very masculine and opined that as not [a] very masculine person, he must work hard to make his dancing seem more robust and manly. In brief, our two male dancers corroborated Berger s ndings that male dancers behaviour often complies with dominant gender stereotypes and that they accentuate elements of themselves to t prevailing perceptions (2003, p. 35). Just as Young and White found that male and female athletes understand pain and injury in ways that differ only by a matter of degree (1995, p. 51), the two male dancers in this study were found to make sense of their pain and suffering in similar ways to their female counterparts. While they did not appear to be any more or less injured than the women, Ethan understood that emotions associated with an injury can impact his ability to dance as a male dancer should and prevent his ability to embody a gender-appropriate style:
I think that if you are depressed in the way that you have been moving and its caused the injury, then maybe you are not carrying the kind of pride that it takes in order to move correctly how a male dancer might.

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While weight-management issues in the world of dance have been explored from a predominantly female perspective, we found that male dancers are, in fact, no less concerned with their bodies. An essential tenet of the making it macho strategy has been to emphasise physical strength and muscular hardness:
I always had a body image of myself as being really skinny and weak. In high school I tried to get really buff and I was really buff for a while. Maybe actually I do feel I need to compensate because what I do is, you know, I feel like its seen as girly so I need to be really jacked so that people will shut the hell up. (Liam)

In a way less related to muscular strength, Ethan was concerned about how his body compared to the bodies of other male dancers:
I almost had the beginnings of an eating disorder too. I was thinking so much about what I was eating all the time. There are only two other classmates that I have and they are both tiny. They dont have love handles and I do so that makes me think I need to cover these somehow, you know?

On questions of masculinity and the body, both Liam and Ethan offered perspectives unique from the female dancers interviewed and even from each other, reinforcing the notion that gender is a uid, protean performance (Fisher and Shay 2009, p. 10) both in the subculture of dance and within the larger society. Discussion Drawing upon existing knowledge of the world of dance as well as an expanding corpus of risk, pain and injury research in the sociology of sport, the embodied experience of a group of Canadian ballet dancers was explored. Because so many of our respondents connected the riskpaininjury nexus with regimens and experiences related to food, weight and gender, this included a consideration of the often complex interface between risk, gender and weight in the lives of participants. In order to remain accepted members of their subculture, and to enhance credentialing in a notoriously hyper-competitive setting, the dancers routinely endured signicant levels of pain, abused their bodies in the name of perfection and the ideal body, and both accepted and self-inicted harsh criticism. The normalisation of pain within the dance culture is pervasive and, in general, proved to have seriously negative consequences for the overall physical health and emotional wellbeing of participants. Resulting from what is sometimes viewed (from both the outside and within) as a militaristic and controlling social institution, in which hard work, repetition, discipline and structure are imposed through often authoritarian power structures and conventions, is what Adair has termed the unthinking dancer who will unquestioningly accept the requirements of the culture around her/him (1992, p. 15). But, to echo the conundrum addressed by Young (1993) in his study of violence and liability in male sports cultures, are these unthinking dancers simply innocent victims of an abusive institutionalised risk-dance culture, or are they active agents complicit in their own suffering? Some of the dancers certainly echoed athletes in that they seemed to have a generally unreexive approach to past disablement, and a relatively unquestioning posture toward the possibility of future injury (Young 1993, Young et al. 1994, p. 191). The long-term risks to the individual dancer are downplayed in the pursuit


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of the dream of making it as a professional and follow, in most cases, a lifetime of investment in and commitment to dance and appearing on stage. Continuing to dance despite the harsh realities, rstly, of even succeeding in such a competitive environment, and secondly, of being able to physically perform considering the rigorous training and rehearsal schedules required, was described as a compulsion, obsession and addiction by our respondents. As Beth candidly noted, the culture of dance teaches you that when someone puts an object in the way of your goal, you will do anything to get past it. At the same time, respondents narratives underscored that they are indeed aware of the troubling power relations and health dangers in dance and many acknowledged that some of the cornerstone behaviours of the dance world are inherently risky, suggesting that dancers are not completely unthinking. A certain amount of resistance to the dominant prescriptions and norms of the dance culture was detected, although contradictorily and almost never heterogeneously, and usually in a context indicating more conformity than rebellion. Here, we are reminded of the now-dated but still very useful interactionist differentiation between front and back regions (Goffman 1959) of cultural settings where actual feelings are attenuated in the presence of authority in order to avoid conict and perhaps, in employment settings, dismissal. The world of ballet, where dancers sometimes live in fear of their unsympathetic, tyrannical and even bullying instructors, is infamous for this, and we certainly found the micro-world of our dancers to be no different. As two nal small examples, Claire tried to ignore pressure from her teachers to work through pain since they are not feeling how my body feels and Megan broke the rules by adding extra pain-relieving padding to her pointe shoes: Id like to live after Im done with pointe shoes and I dont want to be 30 whatever and my feet just wont do it anymore. Despite, as detailed in this paper, a number of strategies being used by the dancers to make sense of pain and to disguise their understanding of and disgruntlement with the harsh realities of dance, the general attitude was to accept the prevailing conditions of the dance world, even if they were interpreted as abusive, overly risky or simply unfair. Wulff understands any resistance or rebellion that might occur in dance as a process that provides a type of agency and temporary sense of empowerment in an excessively controlled and controlling environment and yet, crucially, we found that most opposition remains muted for fear of jeopardising career options (2008, p. 529). Whether they quietly challenged or blindly accepted the prescriptions of the dance culture of risk, our dancers (much like athletes Young et al. 1994) ultimately lived for the here and now, only concerned with reaching the next step on the road to success. After listening to the narratives of this small group of Canadian dancers, we ultimately had to ask ourselves, as Pickard (2007, p. 50) did, if being a dancer is so painful and risky and potentially abusive, why would anyone subject themselves to it? Conceiving of dancing as a calling or beruf, Turner and Wainwright argue that dancing is not something you do, it is something you are (2003, p. 272). Indeed, our data suggest that conrming ones central sense of identity and status through dance, and ones accepted place in the dance community, was the essential motivator for dancers, irrespective of cost:
I nd that ballet and dancing is something that I need to do. It gives me so much satisfaction. Look, every day it's hard work and if you look at yourself enough you

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think oh Im useless, I cant do anything today but in the long run, overall it gives me great satisfaction and I know without it, and Ive been off for injuries, Ive almost got a little bit depressed because I miss it so much. So for me its something I just have to do. Its quite hard to explain, its just in your heart, you have to do it. (Georgia)

It is clear that the potential health risks and often perverse control culture of dance are considered by participants, as several respondents acknowledged, worth it, and that the institution of dance provides perhaps the central vehicle for esteem and self-worth in their lives. In all of these ways, there is a fascinating explanatory interface between insider experiences in, and sociological accounts of, pain, injury and risk in the elds of sport and dance. While, as discussed, we certainly found evidence of uncritical over-conformity to a dance ethic among our participants, we were exposed far more often to the fact that dancers often feel that they have little choice other than to begrudgingly conform and accept the expectations around them, however severe, dangerous and even abusive they may seem. In appearing to unthinkingly conform, what is really occurring is that dancers are choosing not to open themselves up to criticism and face humiliation, rejection or dismissal in a setting where their employment contracts and future opportunities are on the line. Again, it is precisely at the point of this thorny juxtaposition, about which dancers are often fully aware, that the living with and sense-making of pain, injury and risk becomes played out in the contradictory front and back regions of ballet that ultimately allows dancers to return over and over again to the site of their own potential hurt and even disablement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this complex process of complicity/ consent vs. coercion/abuse mirrors widely discussed themes in the sociology of sport literature examining athlete experiences with pain (cf. Young 1993, Roderick et al. 2000). It is important to note that in recent years concern with the health and wellbeing of dancers has become a more salient topic of debate and policy, especially in Europe. For instance, Dance UK and partners have launched a 500,000 research project, named The Dancers Health Pilot Scheme, to assess the feasibility of providing dancers with comprehensive, dance-specic health care on par with that enjoyed by athletes (Dance UK 2008). Aimed at identifying ways to improve standards and procedures of care, this initiative both implicitly acknowledges need as well as representing one step forward for the world of dance in terms of keeping dancers healthy. In general, there has been a growing push for dancers to more reexively take care of themselves in order to prolong careers. In a newspaper article comparing dancers to athletes, one dancer even claimed that the era when dancers were expected to dance through any pain, punish themselves for their art and starve themselves in pursuit of an aesthetic ideal is fading away (Mayes 1995, p. B1). But our data leave us unconvinced that the world of ballet, either at grass roots or at elite level, has had any such institution-wide epiphany and has been able to cast off the very long list of problem behaviours that have been associated with this and other forms of dance and which, again, are troublingly highlighted in the movie Black Swan.4 What we know from long-standing studies of participant-abuse in sport and from our own Western Canadian study leads us to question any claims to sweeping sea change in the culture of dance where risk, pain and health are concerned. In the pursuit of lling a gap in the sociological literature, especially as it pertains to


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Canadian ballet, it is our hope that this study goes some way to explaining the pressures and patterns of a dance world that seduces so many young people to sacrice their bodies in passionate pursuit of a goal that may, in the end, prove both elusive and injurious. Notes
1. In her in-depth and critical examination of the gure skating and gymnastics communities for young girls, Joan Ryan (1995) shows how the often intense and demanding careers of many young females start long before puberty, and it has long been known that in countries such as China and Russia infant competitors face gruelling training regimens and technical routines in what have been called ice and gym factories oriented to the very highest level of competition and performance. 2. The Solo Seal Award is the highest level of examination offered by the Royal Academy of Dance and focuses upon excellence in solo performance. 3. Emil Zatopek was a Czech long-distance runner who won three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Finland and was well known for his ability to endure excruciating pain. Thus, the term Zatopekian pain, sometimes used in the sociology of sport literature (e.g. Howe 2004), refers to the role of positive pain for training purposes and the improvement of performance. 4. Darren Aronofskys Black Swan (2010) contains many themes mirrored in our data. These include problems at the individual and group level around, for instance, body control, discipline and hard work, torturous preparation, tyrannical teaching methods and fear of instructors, humiliation and bullying, ambition, self-abuse, eating disorders and other weight and body distortions and pathologies, narcissism, individual and group pressures, intra-company rivalry and intense competitiveness, hierarchically based identities and statuses, emaciation and isolation.

Notes on contributors
Krista McEwen is currently enrolled in the MA programme in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary. Her sociological research interests include gender, the body, and risk/pain/injury. Her MA research will further explore how these issues interact, specically with respect to the experiences of dancers and the medical profession. Krista has extensive experience in ballet as both a dancer and a teacher. Kevin Young is professor of sociology at the University of Calgary. His work is internationally recognised in the sociology of sport, on matters related to violence/deviance in sport in particular. His publications include books on risk and injury in sport, sport and gender, the Olympic Games and sport subcultures. Kevins current research projects include examinations of sport and terrorism, and the role of sport in social development.

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