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Body issues.

I was deeply troubled by your cover image of a young woman standing upside down in a garbage can, with only her legs showing, her face and torso obscured, clearly suggesting that she had been "thrown away" (July). In a society where positive images of young women are rare and many young women struggle with their self-esteem, it was tremendously distressing to see such a destructive and disempowering image.

As a young dancer, I spent hours pouring over Dance Magazine. It was my only connection to the dance world outside my hometown, and I learned a great deal about the power and beauty of all forms of dance. For me, Dance Magazine has always highlighted dance's ability to touch people and raised awareness about an extremely compelling, but, at times, marginalized art form.

Given this, imagine my profound disappointment at seeing the July cover. I understand the context of the articles and the desire to debunk the "myth of the perfect body." Sadly, this image did not support the magazine's content--it detracted from it. I would have preferred an image that empowered women, celebrating the beauty, power, grace, and variety of dancers and their bodies across the globe. In this instance, I feel that Dance Magazine did a disservice to women in dance by creating and disseminating an image that reinforces their marginalization and the objectification of their bodies.

Rachel S. Moore

Executive Director

American Ballet Theatre

New York, NY

I agree with Theresa Ruth Howard's "Rant and Rave" (July) about dancing as an African-American ballerina. As a young black woman, I often have to search diligently for role models in the dance world. Howard writes with humor and candor. Thank you for including her insights--let's hear more from her.

Lauren Curry

Mount Holyoke College

Dance Dept. Production Assistant

South Hadley, MA

Perhaps the best advice I received as a young dancer was from my beloved ballet teacher, who counseled me (due to my less than "ideal" body) to pursue a career in modern dance, where there might be less pressure for me to conform to an unrealistic body image. I took her advice and enjoyed studying and working with a number of modern and experimental companies throughout my 20s and early 30s, when a back injury put me on the sidelines. I thank all of those teachers (and the writers in the July issue of Dance Magazine) who choose to see beyond the body of the young person and into the future, and to give their students the tools of proper training so that they can continue dancing--and enjoying life--for a very, long time. Keep up the good work!

Jenny DeBouzek

Albuquerque, NM
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Author:DeBouzek, Jenny
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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