Deborah Bull, ex-Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet and now Creative Director of the Royal Opera House, has written a book, The Everyday Dancer, which is to be published October 6. The publisher’s blurb says,
The Everyday Dancer is a new and honest account of the business of dancing from a writer with first hand experience of the profession. Structured around the daily schedule, The Everyday Dancer goes behind the velvet curtain, the gilt and the glamour to uncover the everyday realities of a career in dance. Starting out with the obligatory daily ‘class’, the book progresses through the repetition of rehearsals, the excitement of creating new work, the nervous tension of the half hour call, the pressures of performance and the anti-climax of curtain down.
In an interview with The Sunday Times today, Bull talks about the eating disorders which continue to cast a long dark shadow over the ballet world.
The Everyday Dancer by Deborah Bull (£14.99, Faber and Faber)
Dancing is an extreme pursuit, but you do not have to abuse yourself to be a good dancer. My own eating problem did not have a name as such, but I did have a disordered and very unhealthy attitude to food for many years. In the longer term a dancer who persistently consumes too little food can compromise bone health, leading to stress fractures and osteoporosis, [and harm to] the reproductive system, kidneys and heart.
“Modern choreography and costumes usually favour the lean as do audiences, critics, dancers themselves and often, though not always, directors. And where there is pressure for extreme leanness, a dancer’s discipline and single-mindedness often serves her far too effectively in achieving this.”