The Australian Ballet responds to criticism of its dancers looks

TAB Artists of The Australian Ballet in Circle Electric photo by Daniel BoudThe Australian Ballet Artistic Director, David Hallberg, has responded to criticism that their dancers are looking “unusually thin this season.”

“Last week the Sydney Morning Herald reported that The Australian Ballet dancers were looking “unusually thin this season”. Commentary regarding body image is not acceptable and I am compelled to address this,” said Mr Hallberg.

“Comments about weight, shape and body comparisons can have a serious negative impact on a person’s self esteem and body image and can be detrimental to individuals’ mental and physical health.”

“Professional ballet dancers, like other aesthetic athletes, are identified as a high-risk group for the development of body image concerns, disordered eating and eating disorders,” said Mr Hallberg.

Mr Hallberg stated The Australian Ballet approached the publication to remove the line, but they refused. “They said they felt it was frankly ridiculous that any discussion about body image cannot be discussed in a review,” he said.

In recent years, The Australian Ballet Artistic Health team have been working with the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) to develop Body Image and Disordered Eating Guidelines, the first of their kind in professional ballet.

“We believe that by taking the steps outlined in this plan, we can create a safe and supportive environment for our
dancers to thrive both on and off the stage, build long and fulfilling careers, and excel in their post-dance lives,” said Mr Hallberg.

“Our commitment extends to continued evaluation and improvements of our efforts to prevent and manage eating disorders, so that we may provide the best possible care for both the artists of today and years to come.”

“The Australian Ballet stands firm in our commitment to prioritising the welfare and health of our performers, and hope that by shining a light on this topic that body image comments, like the one reported last week, will be eradicated in our artform, in sporting codes and in society,” said Mr Hallberg.

The Australian Ballet’s season of Etudes / Circle Electric is currently playing at the Sydney Opera House until 18 May 2024. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Artists of The Australian Ballet in Circle Electric – photo by Daniel Boud