Today’s guest is Cati Angela, also known as @edrecoverygurl on Instagram.
Cati has been a long-time listener of the podcast and when she reached out I knew we had to collaborate, share her journey and spark discussion around eating disorders within the dance world.
I’m not going to lie. This is an incredibly hard conversation to navigate. Not only am I hyper aware of presenting information in a factual and informative way through this podcast, but am also very aware of the young and impressionable part of the Balanced Ballerinas audience.
However today’s topic is an important one and it’s very close to my heart. So it’s difficult for me (as you’ll hear) to not be a little bit angry and passionate about the topic.
I’ve momentarily discussed this in passing with other guests on the podcast, but one of the reasons I gave up life as a professional ballet dancer was because I had an eating disorder.
If I’m honest, I’ve only been able to say that out loud in the last couple of years. Even harder to say out loud is the fact that my eating disorder was only developed because of insensate and constant remarks about my body from certain ballet teachers whom I idolised.
Every ballet student idolises their ballet teacher. When I step into the studio I am hyper sensitive and aware of the words and actions I exhibit amongst impressionable young women. Unfortunately, others are not.
Many within my profession will say that the eating disorder topic is a load of rubbish, needs to be put to bed and that it’s not as prevalent today. I’m in this industry and especially through the podcast I have witnessed and heard many comments that are made when the mics turn off that suggest otherwise.
During my conversation with Cati, we often refer to pre-professional or finishing schools as the main culprit for this breeding ground of negligence between a young woman and those that are supposed to be responsible for shaping them into a confident and strong dancer.
Not all pre-professional schools are like this. Not all ballet dancers feel this way. I don’t act like I have all the answers and Cati certainly doesn’t either. This conversation is simply two young women sharing very similar thoughts and feelings despite being on other sides of the world.
This alone tells me that we’re not the only ones feeling this way and therefore the discussion needs to be had to spark change and inspire healthier relationships with our bodies.
I’d like to thank Cati for being so honest and so brave. I love that Cati still participates in casual ballet classes whilst studying a Bachelor of Business at University and I wish her all the best in her recovery, her journey, her business and her happiness.
Before we go any further, if this conversation triggers any harmful thoughts of feelings please call the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders Hotline on 1800334673 or if you’re in Canada where Cati is from you can call the National Eating Disorder Information Centre on 18666334220
Grit & Grace,