New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay recently reviewed "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker" and he took what could be interpreted as a jab at one ballerina's weight -- and she'd previously left the ballet due to struggles with her body image.
Of the performance, Macaulay wrote:
This didn't feel, however, like an opening night. Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she'd eaten one sugar plum too many; and Jared Angle, as the Cavalier, seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm.
"One sugar plum too many"? Are you kidding us? And as if that wasn't mean enough, here's some background on Ringer -- a few excerpts from from a Dance Magazine article in the November 2001 edition:
But even as her career was taking off, her self-esteem was plummeting. If weight gain and injuries are the twin demons of a dancer's career, Ringer was about to deal with both.
Stressed out from her hectic schedule, Ringer became physically and emotionally depleted. She says, "I would be so tired and I would think, 'If I eat that extra--whatever--it would give me more energy the next day.'" Early in 1996, Ringer suffered a severe back injury that sidelined her for nine months. When she came back, she was heavier and began to lose parts. The company tried to put her in costumes with more coverage, but soon even that wouldn't work. "It was mortifying," says Ringer. "Dancing had become anathema for me." At the close of the 1997 summer season, she left NYCB by mutual agreement, with the caveat that the door was always open.
As Ringer shed pounds, she gained confidence. Before she left the company, James Fayette, a soloist with NYCB, had asked her to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker for the New Paltz Ballet Theatre in upstate New York. In late 1997, he called to remind her that it was time to start rehearsing. Ringer tried to beg off, protesting she was still too heavy and out of shape, but Fayette insisted. For the next few months, she and Fayette performed around the tri-state area (New York, Connecticut, New Jersey).
Tsk, tsk, Mr. Macaulay. We'll eat a few extra sugar plums this holiday season in your honor.
(Via Fit Perez)