Experiencing Interruptions?

Corps de Ballet

The wispy quality of professional ballerinas sets a precedent for aspiring dancers that is often unachievable through healthy practices. As a result, young dancers are typically tempted to change their bodies by overexercising or under-eating. According to a study in 2019, dancers are three times more likely to develop an eating disorder than non-dancers.

In my interviews with current and former ballet dancers, I found their stories of body shame and eating disorders echoed my own. We pushed ourselves through 8 hours of dance with nothing but a granola bar in our stomachs. We hated wearing a leotard and tights in front of a mirror all day. We all had these experiences and still, many of my interview questions were met with the phrase, “I’ve never told anyone this but…”

To start conversations about body shame in the performing arts, I am creating a collaborative video project using aerial dance and original music to express how ballet shaped my body image. This piece will demonstrate the restriction of body shame and the freedom of relinquishing that shame.

  • Katherine Hutchinson
  • Dominic Shodekeh Talifero
  • Tyler Parks
  • Leah Marie
  • Project Type:
    Music Video, Short
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    3,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Katherine Hutchinson

Katherine Hutchinson is an aerial dancer who creates expressive and empowering art. She choreographs and curates aerial, dance, photography, video, and performance projects with a wide array of artists who share her vision for emotionally driven art. Collaboration, research and imagery are paramount in her projects about strength and magic.

After reading a historical account of the Salem Witch Trials, she created an aerial silks act made entirely of original choreography inspired by the imagery found in her research.

In a full-length circus/theatre show about lies she and the cast had the opportunity to improvise on stage, making the show different every night of the run.

In a revival of a 17th century Italian opera about a sorceress, Katherine performed enchanting aerial solos with the on-stage string quartet and harpsichordist.

She has done photoshoots in the salt flats covered in paint for Jean Paul Bourdier and in an aerial silk dress on the California coast with Sarah Eichstedt.

She created an aerial dance video about body shame with breath artist and beatboxer Shodekeh.

Katherine is known for her grace in the air. Combining her 20 years of classical ballet training with a decade of extensive aerial study, Katherine has established a new caliber of aerial dancer. She and her students show a dedication to strong, well-aligned movement while never forgetting the expressive aspects of performance. These principles are central to Katherine’s trademarked class Air Ballet™.

In the fall of 2021 she ascended into her new role at Kinetic Arts Center as artistic director.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

As a young ballet dancer I struggled with body shame, eating disorders and, as a result, excess anxiety. These struggles not only damaged my body but they were extremely detrimental to my progress as a dancer. It has been 14 years since I realized I had an eating disorder but my journey to unlearn my body shame is still in progress.

In preparation for this piece I read, researched and talked to fellow dancers. I am not alone. People of all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, etc feel body shame. This is no surprise considering the messaging we receive about it constantly. Movies, magazines, media, Instagram, advertisements, music, etc are all telling us we’re not good enough. We’re not thin enough or young enough or pretty enough.

It’s hard to think about anything else when you hate your body. It’s hard to think about anything but food when you’re dieting. Body shame and diet culture have stunted our growth as a society. Imagine if all the women in the world stopped thinking about their waistline or their next meal and focused all their energy on something else, anything else. Would we have had a female president already? Would we have cured cancer? Would we have a form of ice cream that never melted?

This piece will demonstrate the restricting nature of body shame and the freedom that comes from relinquishing that shame. It will serve as a reminder that our full potential is available as soon as we dedicate our thoughts to something other than hate.