Maybe I misunderstood.

Hopefully, at least for my own sanity, I misunderstood.

If I did, unfortunately, understand correctly than what I just heard was a choreographer tell me that I needed to wear a leotard under my costume so that the audience couldn’t occasionally get a peek at my belly button.  The belly button on the muscular, wide stomach that has been called “perfect” more than once and is a lovely, feminine balance of soft and firm.  The belly button that sits in the center of my very nicely proportioned 127 pound body that said choreographer has wrapped in an XL top, one-size-fits-none wrap pants, and a thick, wool cummerbund.

Not exposing the mid-drift is a totally fine costuming choice and generally one I’d be happy with.  But.  Why is my belly button “distracting” or unseemly when the dancer two feet away from me has way more stomach exposure than me as her shirt fly’s up and down and all around? I see that she is fat-free and strong and lovely and that’s wonderful, I totally agree that she has a hot body and a great stomach.

So do I.

I’m actually a big fan of my stomach.  I haven’t always been.  It took me until my thirties to embrace it’s little rolls, it’s lack of a defined waist due to my compactness and broadness of both my hips and ribs, or the way it can seem to shape shift from flat and firm to round and soft in a matter of hours depending on the time of the month, what I ate, or how much water I’ve drank.  I like my stomach and I am very happy to say that now.

The line is so fine when it comes to body image.  I am livid that she is treating me like my body is offense or unattractive and must be covered as much as possible.  On the other hand, I would also be uncomfortable if she asked me to dance in some super-skimpy, super-skin exposing (lack of) costume.  *sigh*

It is possible I misunderstood.  Perhaps she was saying that we all needed to wear leotards so as not to distract the audience with glimpses of our gorgeous belly buttons of all sizes, depths, and dimensions.

Faith Levine


  1. Wonderfully well said. I, also, hope that it was just a misunderstanding because, as you said, you do have a pretty terrific stomach!

  2. rhoda

    If you haven’t asked her, why not do so? It’s either a misunderstanding or a teachable moment. And if you don’t ask, it’s probably best to give her the benefit of the doubt, otherwise you’re letting her set up shop in your head and giving away your power.

    • gracefulfitness

      I didn’t ask because I knew that she was saying exactly what I thought she was; that because I have a little fat on my stomach she didn’t want my belly exposed. That is her call as the choreographer, I just happened to let it get under my skin.

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