Every year, a staggering amount of women and men are robbed of the normalcy of nourishment by an eating disorder. 20 million women and 10 million men a year, to be exact.
So why, as one of the deadliest mental illness in the United States, are eating disorders still stigmatized?
Seeking to uproot this stigma surrounding bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders is Alexandra Bodnarchuk—a Pittsburgh-based dance artist. Through her project, “Something Pretty,” Bodnarchuk is exploring the conversation about eating disorders through dance.
What began six years ago as a college project has developed into a full performance. Bodnarchuk suffered from an undiagnosed eating disorder herself, which—combined with her life as a dancer—became the inspiration for the project.
“I just remember wanting to reach underneath my skin, pull out my fat and rearrange my muscles and bones to look more aesthetically pleasing from the outside,” Bodnarchuk said. She has since recovered, but the eating disorder left her more passionate than before: “I just knew that I had a lot to say about it.”
Bodnarchuk pushes the conversation further by approaching it from a dance lens:
“I know that eating disorders in dance is something cliché. If you hear a ballerina has an eating disorder, you think: ‘Oh, okay. That’s normal.’ We’ve normalized something that should not be normalized.”
Bodnarchuk is aware and ready to address the stereotypes of dancers with eating disorders, and she invites you to join. Also collaborating as the photographer for the project is Pittsburgh-based feminist artist Hannah Altman. The two will work together to “dismantle the stigma from the core” and inspire others to move forward in a healthy direction.
A fundraiser for the event will be held at Stack PGH (5740 Baum Blvd. 3rd Floor, 15206) on July 25. The event consists of two excerpt performances from the work, food from Bar Marco and mingling with the cast of talented artists. Photographs from Altman will also be sold.
You can also check out the event page for upcoming info about the fundraiser, project and performances!