introduction and objective: great concern with physical appearance and fitness as well as constant pressure in maintaining low body weight make ballet dancers a risk group for the development of eating disorders (ed). the objective of the present study was to evaluate the body image perception and its association with risk behavior for ed in professional ballet dancers. method: sixty-one dancers (39 women and 22 men) who represent the brazilian classical ballet elite were assessed. the portuguese versions of eating attitudes test (eat-26) and bulimic investigatory test edinburgh (bite) questionnaires were used to evaluate de risk behavior for ed. stunkard′s standard silhouettes were used to assess body image perception. association between variables was evaluated through the prevalence ratio (pr) and respective 95% confidence interval (ci). results: thirty-one dancers (50.8%) would like to have smaller silhouette than the usual. the presence of risk behavior for ed was 2.71 times higher (ci 95%=1.02-7.18) among those who would like to have smaller silhouette than the usual and 2.64 times higher (ci 95% = 1.20 - 5.80) among those who would like to have smaller silhouette than the ones considered healthier. conclusion: the high frequency of body dissatisfaction found can be collaborating for the onset of risk behavior for ed in professional ballet dancers.