NEW YORK (AP/CBSNewYork) — A New York City Ballet dancer says a newspaper critic needn’t apologize for calling her plump in a performance of the Nutcracker.

Jenifer Ringer, cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy, said Monday on The “Today” show that her body is part of her “art form” and there to be criticized. “It is a field where our bodies are important. As dancers, we are taught to try to be perfect in every way,” the 37-year old mother said. But Ringer stressed, “At the same time, I am not overweight.”

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She says ballet critic Alastair MaCaulay is paid to put his opinion in The New York Times. Ringer said Macaulay was entitled to his opinion. And while the review made her feel bad, she added, “I had to tell myself that was one person’s opinion out of 2,000 people who were there.”

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Ringer has battled eating disorders and says she’s “a more womanly type than the stereotypical ballerina.” She added, “The outpouring of people who leapt to my defense was wonderful.”

In his review, MaCaulay said Ringer “looked as if she’d eaten one sugarplum too many.” He also wrote in his Nov. 28 review that her dance partner, Jared Angle as the Cavalier, “seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm.”

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Macaulay’s review promoted a storm of Internet criticism, and e-mails that were, according to Macaulay, “in many cases obscene and abusive.”