Starting this week and running until the 8th March, UEA Ballet are running our annual body positivity campaign, ‘Love Your Leo(tard)’. This will be the third year that we have run this campaign as a society, and each year we aim to raise more money for our chosen charities, Beat and Eating Matters. These charities specialise in offering help to those suffering with eating disorders, something which disproportionately affects Ballet dancers in the sports and performing arts industries. Many Ballet dancers have courageously told their stories in recent years regarding their battles with eating disorders and mental health. In 2018, Dawn Smith-Theodore told Pointe magazine that dance ‘cultivates perfectionism’, which extends into body image issues which can make dancers’ mental health spiral.
The whole idea behind ‘Love Your Leo’ is to promote body positivity and inclusivity in dance and sport, and so we invite sports teams, outside of Ballet, that also have to wear tight-fitting kit, to participate in our annual Instagram challenge. This year we are not just inviting students across UEA, but are reaching out to Ballet schools, dance clubs, and sports teams across the country to spread the love and raise as much money as possible.Throughout the first week of our campaign, our committee members will be posting pictures of ourselves in our leotards, with captions expressing why we love our bodies, and the outfits that we have to show them off in. We will also be hosting an online panel on Sunday 28th of February at 6pm with Headucate to talk about eating disorders. Then, in the second week, we are inviting everyone else to share their pictures with us! If you, or your club, want to get involved, follow us on Instagram @UEABallet for more updates.