Via, someone posted this article about a dancer in the UK who quit her job as a scientist. I thought it was an interesting story, since it seems rare that one quits the “practical” job for the arts. I don’t see this in my future, since I am passionate about physics, but I did find it to be a nice read.

What made me sad is many of the comments on this article. Firstly, I read comments about “wasting her education” and “stealing someone’s place at the university.” I don’t feel that she wasted her education at all. She tried something for 4 years and then found something else more suited to her interests. How is that a waste? A waste would have been to have gone to college and not tried what she thought her career was. I don’t understand taking someone’s place. Any qualified student, as far as I’m concerned, deserves a place at a school, regardless of what they ultimately end up doing with their education. You only steal someone’s place anywhere is if you’re deceitful or don’t play fairly when trying to get admissions. I see both of the issues as moot points; no one would tell a college-educated stay at home parent that they wasted their education and took someone’s place in a school.

The second thing that bothered me was people’s attitudes towards her weight. On the left is a photo of her from the article. The woman is not thin, so what?  She certainly isn’t that big, but really, if she were, why bother commenting on it?

Having never seen this dancer perform, I can’t say if she’s any good or bad, but she looks like many women I’ve known in dance who have been successful. Thin women are not particularly common in most classes in Middle Eastern dance. Thin women are not teaching many of the classes. One of the nicest things about Middle Eastern dance is that many body types are taking part in it. Everyone from the young and fit to the older and rounder and everything in between.

One of the comments say she probably will not be very successful because of her figure. The arts are always a gamble, though, but she has also attained a certain success. Besides, there plenty of women earning their income via Middle Eastern dance who don’t have rock hard abs. Some dancers (Suhaila Salimpour, Mardi Love, Dina,  Aida Nour…) are not the thinnest, most ripped, yet they are still talented and lovely and are in such demand that they can be flown all over the world to teach a workshop. I’m not saying that that is obtainable for this teacher (it is hard even if you were thin), but if they can meet probably the highest success a Middle Eastern can hope to have, surely this lady can be successful.

She also may be in very good shape. Some people are simply not meant to be svelte and tiny. According to the article, she teaches a lot and practices an hour a day. I’m going to guess she may be in better shape than quite a few people around the globe.

I realize everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I just feel that the comments were often malicious and ill-informed, and I’m afraid that comments like that may prevent women from trying Middle Eastern dance.