The authors studied a group of young ballerinas through responses to a questionnaire and intensive interviews. The young women described a life characterized by complete dedication in which academics, social life, and pleasures were sacrificed and a program of intensive exercise and practice became their main activity. They tended to feel overweight in spite of being thin and continued to diet or to employ other means to become even thinner. Two heuristic conclusions were reached: (a) the goal of thinness was in part a flight from conflicts about adult sexuality that arose at puberty; and (b) repetitive practice was engaged in for its own sake, not for career advancement, in an attempt to lose themselves in a transcendental quest for perfection. A comparison was made between this group and girls of the same age with anorexia nervosa. Several similarities but many more differences were found. Findings are based on a very small sample and must be interpreted cautiously, but directions for further studies are implied.