Anorexia and La Scala Ballet Dancers: The Ugly Truth is Out

la scala of milan where anorexia and ballerinas meet

La Scala of Milan. 1 out of 5 ballerinas suffer from anorexia. (Photo:

Once again we are seeing Anorexia and La Scala Ballet Dancers in the news as a La Scala ballerina opens up about the issue of eating disorders.

In her recently published book titled: “The Truth, Please, About Ballet,” Maria Francesca Garritano of La Scala in Milan finally speaks about eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.


Anorexia and La Scala Ballet Dancers – It’s A Serious Problem

Breaking an unspoken rule never to discuss eating disorders among Italy’s elite dance corps, Maria Francesca Garritano told the Observer that one in five ballerinas that she knew was anorexic and, as a result, many were now unable to have children. “The chance of getting fired has crossed my mind, but I love La Scala, I care about it, and that’s why I really hope things can change,” said Garritano, 33, who won a fiercely contested place at the company’s academy when she was 16.

But behind the glittering globe- trotting profile of the company, all is not well with the dancers, said Garritano…

Anorexia and bulimia, two eating disorders among the dancers are ignored.

Both are portrayed in dramatic fashion in the film Black Swan, the Oscar-winning ballet psychodrama starring Natalie Portman.

“I reduced my eating so much that my period stopped for a year and a half when I was 16 and 17, and I dropped to 43 kilos…

Garritano could not ignore what was going on, so she rebelled, not without consequences.

 ”I couldn’t take it in silence when teachers shrieked at us. If you use military training with ballerinas, you get robots, not artists.”

“For months I would not dance after speaking out against managers. I have always been outspoken, but I have seen careers held back and others soaring thanks to who you know.”

Garritano exposes the treatment being given to ballerinas in hopes of helping upcoming dancers realize the importance of a healthy body image and eating habits.

“…ballet is grueling but can be a dream life if you can avoid eating disorders. “I wanted to alert the world to this…

Her message is being heard. Mothers are concerned and have reached out to her through social media to ask how they can guide their aspiring ballerina daughters. But she does have one plea:

“All it would take is for more ballet dancers, who are better known than me, to step forward and tell it like it is.” (Full article here.)

As Garritano says, she knows that is was a risky move to write about these issues, but change cannot happen until this issue is openly addressed by teachers, parents and student of ballet.

While perhaps no one is shocked to hear some of her allegations, the fact remains that until the fear surrounding the problem is faced nothing can begin to change for the dancers with anorexia, and La Scala ballet dancers, along with countless others, will continue to suffer in silence.  This does not need to be the case any longer!

Share this post with dancers you know and let us know what you think about Garritano’s interview in the comments section below.


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