One Sugarplum Too Many? Not for This Ballerina

As a ballerina who overcame anorexia, the last thing Jennifer Ringer probably wanted was to be criticized for her weight by a New York Times critic. In a recent review of “The Nutcracker,” said that she, as the sugar plum fairy, “looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” The comment hurt initially but is just part of being a professional in a field that demands perfection from those who work in it.

“As a dancer, I do put myself out there to be criticized, and my body is part of my art form,” Jenifer Ringer, 37, told TODAY’s Ann Curry during an interview Monday. “At the same time, I am not overweight.”

One sugar plum too many?
Ringer and a male dancer were singled out by critic Alastair Macaulay after he attended a Nov. 28 performance of the holiday classic by the New York City Ballet.

“Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many,” Macaulay wrote in a review published in The Times three days later.

While some bloggers, including Perez Hilton, have jumped to Ringer’s defense, others have suggested that by placing herself in the public eye, she is opting in to receive criticism – both constructive and otherwise, about her shape and body weight.

Getting over it
The controversy stung Ringer initially, she acknowledged to Curry on Monday, but in the ensuing days, she drew strength from the support she received from the general public and the dance community.

“It made me feel bad. It is embarrassing to see something bad written about yourself in print. I had to tell myself that was one person’s opinion out of 2,000 people who were there,” Ringer said. “The outpouring of people who leapt to my defense was wonderful.”

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