Ballet and dysphoria

(that should totally be a book title or something)

me in leotard.

I’m a dancer.

About three people on the internet know that about me. I do ballet (i occasionally pronounce this with the t at the end because I’m a rebel). Sadly this mostly makes me feel dysphoric. (if you’re completely confused why I’m dysphoric HERE *shoves post that like four people read [i still love you, thank you the four people who read it, rainbows]*)

Actually I didn’t realize it was dysphoria until a few weeks ago. I just thought it was a weird body image thing.

quick briefing on ballet: no i don’t do pointe,* yes it’s possible to do ballet without doing pointe, no i don’t intend on doing ballet professionally (re: pointe. while you don’t have to do it generally professional ballerinas are on pointe T_T) and i just do it because i enjoy it and it makes me less stressed. yes i can do my own hair (though it’s really short now and this is hard) (MANLY BUNS). yes i hate makeup.

* more drama in cynthia’s life: my dad doesn’t want me to do pointe b/c he says it’ll mess up my toes. if you know me on twitter (read: if you’re the two people who were online while i ranted about this), you know that my relationship with my dad is -1293719823719832712983719837198237193871293871293871293871. even though i don’t particularly want to do pointe, REALLY WHO’S GOING TO JUDGE ME BY MY TOES.

Today I was particularly masculine (i might generally lean more toward masculine-ness?) and i had dance class. Naturally, I thought WHY DON’T I BLOG ABOUT THIS.

And yes I KNOW, non-binary child doing dance. Let me take a moment to destroy this point(e*) for the people tempted to use it**: it’s totally possible for non-female people to do dance, it’s totally possible for me to do dance and not realize my gender for nine years (NINE?!?? IT’S BEEN THAT LONG!???!), it’s totally possible for me to not experience social/gender dysphoria until puberty. Go away i’m going to cry for a while and eat tea.***


** probably no one would even bother to point(e) this out. dammit i’m just going to fill this with bad ballet puns aren’t i PLIE SAUTE JETTE TENDU OUIOUI BAGUETTE I CAN SPEAK FRENCH

*** i can toetally**** eat tea I’m going to do that right now

**** i’m crap at puns i’ll stop now

so many footnotes though T__T ANYWAY THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DON’T READ MY BLOG


I want to come out to my ballet teacher(s). HOWEVER, POTENTIAL PROBLEMS:

1. There are practically no non-female persons where I dance. The only ones are incredibly young. There are, however, two male instructors. I don’t think either of them do ballet (AWK). This means I need to choose between changing rooms (probably will stay with the girls. my dance school does a dad’s dance for the show and adult males are terrifying).

2. I’d have to come out to my parents because I’d want to dress masculine-ly. Yes, there is a dress code. Girls = leotard and leggings, which makes me uncomfortable because large pectorals. Boys = SHIRT AND BLACK BALLET SHOES AND MANLY LEGGINGS. HOW COOL IS THAT I’M TOTALLY IN. Manly leggings = thicker, black, not see-through, manly.

ps. according to my dance school’s website i’m supposed to wear black jazz pants. ehhhhhh shush

I have no money, friends. I’d have to ask my parents to buy these for me, and they’d ask why, and I’d have to come out.

Though this is a great way of coming out to my studio? they’d figure it out and i wouldn’t have to say a single word (though i’d have to educate people about pronouns erpppp).

3. Since ballet at my level (i’ll just say i’m pretty high but i still suck [for my level k]) is hugely female-dominated, most the language my ballet teachers use is for girls and it’s going to take forever for them to adjust to gender-neutral language.

4. also i’m hella scared because some of the teachers there are old and probably still believe in the gender binary / might be transphobic ahhhhhhh

but i also don’t want to quit dance soooooo?!??!?!??!?!!?!?!?!?


Though I have problems with non-diversity in ballet. There are SO MANY WHITE PEOPLE (Misty Copeland exists though, she’s so good and i cry), including at my studio. esp. in higher levels, even though my area contains Large Amounts of Asians.

poss. reasons: asian parental pressure. school pressure. discomfort at being in room with only whites ™. discomfort with white teachers. (the ballet teacher i’ve had for the longest time is awesome though. she’s old and british and a magical flame-spitting feminist.)

(please don’t tell her i called her that.)



Do you dance? Do you ballet? Am I the only existing person who still enjoys doing ballet? DO YOU LIKE MISTY COPELAND PLS DO

(edit / bonus for those who read to the end: i had a horrible time trying to publish this



11 thoughts on “Ballet and dysphoria”

  1. This is incredible and I will tell you why. 1) I identify as transgender. (Male to Female). I am pre-hormones and pre-surgeries. 2) I love ballet and have three years experience taking classes. I took 2 years of private lessons before getting included in a more traditional class with other girls. My experiences are similar to yours and it took a lot of courage for me to come to terms with my gender identity and coming out. I have had mixed results coming out to family and friends but I don’t have very many regrets. And while it took a lot of courage for me to slip on the tights and leotards and go girly (like I wanted to), the feelings I have about myself and about my ballet dreams are incredible. I love myself more for having taken the chance. Something I have always wanted to do and now I finally say I am doing it.

    But I totally understand dysphoria. That wall of mirrors can be so intimidating and dealing with features of my body I am not too keen on can be really discouraging or depressing but honestly, the biggest help I get is in the support of my friends (90% of them are girls and are very open-hearted and open-minded) and the support I got from my ballet teacher who gave me no excuses and saw me as Rachel, a ballerina, from the beginning. Anyhow, keep up on your dreams and build that support system as best you can and take each day one step at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hop on and read through blogs so I can find fascinating stories from people who have more fascinating narratives than anything I can find in Barnes and Noble.

    In a strange way, this was a kind of magic. Given, your experience is in fact uniquely difficult, but the blur between ballet, a HIGHLY gendered art form, and gender (or complete lack there of) is pretty amazing.
    I appreciate you working through yourself (which isn’t simple by any means) to compose this piece. Well done. Unique. Easy to read. Honest. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhhh, I don’t really have much advice other than if you want to, go for it! ❤ Just make sure they wouldn't tell your parents, or something. Eek. BUT YAY FOR YOU FOR STICKING WITH DANCE. I did ballet/tap/jazz for three years and then lyrical for one, and I really really loved lyrical and wanted to stick with it, but we got a new teacher who was awful. Also NO TIME JEEZUMS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i don’t know how to do it without coming out to parents, esp. because of the preformance at the end 😦

      oh yeah, bad teachers suck. i had one when i took summer classes and it was horrible.
      ily ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes I caught the point(e) pun and loved it. 😀 Kudos to you for sticking with something that is challenging in ways that most people will rarely if ever be able to understand. I’ve seen some wonderful pics of Misty in action but haven’t actually seen video (When I’m ready YouTube is going to be my friend. I don’t actively dance/ballet but I certainly appreciate as much as I am able. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I’ve only seen a bit of her dancing (dad blocked youtube on my computer) but she’s so beautiful and graceful in the pictures and it hurts… ❤


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