Many dancers interested in trying out for university dance teams jump for joy after they read statements on various teams’ websites like, “there are no set weight requirements to be on the team,” or “we do not discriminate against any age, race, weight, or religion.” To those considering trying out, it is a big relief, because now they won’t have to spend the rest of their summer in a gym.
Contrarily, at tryouts, there is always the girl who doesn’t make the team even though she outperformed veterans with sky high leaps, solid pirouettes, and eye-catching style and pizzaz. I remember this happening at one of my tryouts. All of us returning dancers knew she deserved our spot more than we did. It was obvious why she did not get picked. She was a little on the heavier side.
Are the statements regarding weight requirements falsely advertised or misleading?
Even the sleaziest contracts have the courtesy to state “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” even if it is in that 8 point Times New Roman fine print at the bottom of the contract you have squint your eyes to read.
When I see the weight requirements statement on tons of university dance team websites, I am reminded of the Equal Employment Opportunity Statement (EEO) every employer is obligated by the government to adhere to. They post it on their websites and applications forms, but who are they trying to fool? You can go to that business for 20 years and never see at least one minority on their staff.
While it may be true university dance team coaches don’t follow a specific weight range, it’s obvious they do pick and choose team members based on what they consider suitable or ideal body images for their team.
I guess the coaches think it’s the dancer’s responsibility to read between the lines and automatically picture the physique of a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader before she tries out.
But coaches are not solely responsible for not having a team that consists of a wide range of girls all shapes and sizes. Some of them would kill to have the bigger girls with the best technique on their competition squad, but someone else has the power over this decision, the public eye. Fans and spectators tend to be powerful, influential, and critical when it comes to cheerleaders and dancers. Collegiate level cheerleaders and dancers wear uniforms that may be more revealing than high school like the midriff bra tops that show off the tummy. If your body does not look, so called, flattering in this attire, it draws negative attention to the team and the university.
So the coaches should not fully be blamed, but they could be elaborate more on the weight expectations/requirements on their websites. I believe this would at least prevent some confusion and broken hearts.
On the other hand, it’s the society we live in. Society puts a lot of emphasis on thin and skinny, it’s all around us, even though I do not necessarily agree.