In 1986, Kirkland, with Greg Lawrence, published Dancing on My Grave, a tell-all autobiography detailing her struggles with eating disorders and drug addiction. One of the truths of art and life is that what we see with our eyes is not the whole story. I believe this same truth applies to eating disorders and the obsession with the body. I am not a doctor of anything, but I can offer my perspective on this topic as a person who has been through the goulash, and as an artist from the lopsided world of ballet. From my point of view, narcissistic body image problems exist as a manifestation of our spiritual state. It is not a body issue; it is an issue of the soul. Anorexia is an obsession with externals and, if left unchecked, a shutting down of the body and soul, sometimes tragically to the point of death.
Both ballet and society at large can be accused of the same obsessions: technique, technology, sexy, pretty, information, money–all skimming the surface, all externals. Little or no time is given to the heart, to the story, to meaning. We are presently in a “healthy,” “sporty” body image period. We talk openly about health issues. This is good and necessary, however, the body still remains primary. The body rules!