Lose two stone before you compete

From being a regular finalist and winning major medallist competitions, i decided that i wanted to compete in Open Amateur competitions and found myself an Amateur Latin partner after two try-outs, a month after leaving the closed circuit. Being new on the scene, i believed 110% of everything my teacher told me. Her daughter was a past National Champion and i had heard many great comments about her students. I ended up training five nights a week, during my important GCSE year whilst travelling two hours there and two hours back. Some say i had taken on too much, but i was determined to be well-known and achieve top results.

After four weeks we had perfected all routines and on the verge of making suits. The time when it all began.

I've had a muscular physique since a young age and with my mother being a dancer, inherited strong, powerful legs which had always been awkward to buy fashion clothes for, yet happily with a 24" waist i didnt mind, i tried to see myself as an athlete, such as those on the television with a lot of muscle bulk.

When i next had circuit training, i felt she was paying particular attention to me and my partner. So much so that i didnt take my eyes from her all session. It was only at the start of squad training that she called me to the stage and quite quickly confronted me about my "welght problem". Her exact words were, 'before you compete you need to lose at least two stone and tone up all your 'flabby' areas'. I was hurt, shocked and at the same time mortified that at a competition the adjudicators would pay so much attention to my weight-being new on the scenei believed her fully.

I went home crying and didnt sleep for at least five nights in a row. My school work grades decreased and the teachers noted a large drop academically. I began a strict regime of healthy eating and exercise. Feeling better about myself and my toned body i decided that i wanted more lessons to show how eager i was to do well. My strength however was rapidly decreasing and i ceased training. After around six weeks a try out was arranged in London, seeming like the chance of a lifetime i took it and was soon on my way to dance with a Rusian boy at a well marked studio. Upon starting training i explained about previous encounters and they were deeply shocked. They explained everyone should tone up but not to that extent. After a few lessons the dancing wasnt working out so i ended the partnership-as we all have done! Many try outs came and went, not being able to find the right partner, i began to think if it was what had explained to me by my previous teacher, to why i wasnt competing yet. I turned to starvation. A year has passed and losing more than three stone have gone down three dress sizes, battled with hair loss, depression, amnorheaa and sleep loss, i began to wonder if it is all worth it. Countless appointments with councellors and doctors, i feel more unhappy now after losing weight than i did before. Many teachers have explained consequences of anorexia to me yet i cannot escape from the comment which was made to me only by my first teacher. Now in my final a level year i am a lot weaker than i was yet with will power i can still dance to my hearts extent and find it is a way of expression and escape. Many people around me cannot believe how much suffering the comments made have caused me, yet things like that stay with you for years. At the end of this academic year i will move hopefull to London or Italy and begin a new dancing regime , a happier one without such comments! On more than one occasion my school teachers hav wondered why i havent sued for the suffering it has caused me but i guess many athletes, especially gymnasts, go through the same period and they get through it. I will- it will just take time. In that time i will strive t be the best dancer i can possibly be-hoping to show certain people what i am made of. I just hope that more comments are not being passed to others and they are strong enough to brush them aside and take no notice whatsoever.

Daft Dave

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