Last week something amazing happened. A video of a plus dance troupe called Pretty Big Movement went hella viral.
Like 13 million views. Probably more by now!
Did you see it?
8 people shared the video with me because they knew it would be my jam.
If you didn’t watch it yet, you can see it up above!
YAY! Here it is again.
Ok yay you’re back! SO GOOD RIGHT?!
Here’s why this viral video matters to me and I hope it will to you too.
What hit me hardest is when Akira describes her struggles with being a dancer as a kid.
“When people think about the stereotypical dancer’s body they think tall, slim, long legs, long arms. Growing up in a dance environment, I did feel like my body was a negative.” Akira Armstrong
When I was 6 years old I was in an after school ballet class in the suburbs of Ottawa, Canada. Barely having the chance to grow out of my baby fat, I already felt awkward in my body. My sensitive, empathic self could already feel the favoritism to the girls who had leaned out and my heart sank.
8-10 years old. Tap and jazz. Coordination did not come as easily to me but I loved it. I still do the ball change sometimes. But what I got pretty quickly was that my body was different. I couldn’t keep up with the other girls. I didn’t realize how much I was psyching myself out. It could have been that. Or the bullying from the other girls who actually said something along the lines of “you’re too fat and it’s making us look bad.” I didn’t have the chutzpah of Little Miss Sunshine. I didn’t get over it.
Instead I just sobbed my little eyes out and quit.
Until recently, that was the last time I took a dance class…or danced much at all except for swaying awkwardly to Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” in school dances or a few Zumba classes. Always secretly wishing I could feel free enough to let loose like the ravers. I thought it was too late for me. I had already decided only skinny bodies could dance. And I never tried Ecstasy 😉
How many other little girls quit dance for the same reasons? Did you quit too? Are you ready to try again?
And don’t you wish you could go back in time and show yourself that video?!
So for all the little girls out there, and for the little girl inside of each of us, I want to introduce you to some other amazing role models in the curvy dance world.
Cathleen Meredith of Fat Girls Dance
A few months ago I discovered a babe by the name of Cathleen Meredith. An amazing woman out of New York on a mission to reclaim dance for fat bodies. She committed to learn and film a new dance every week for a year. A few days of rehearsals and then one take.
Not giving any fucks about perfection. And she is posting them on the internetz for the world to see. The epitome of Curvy Confidence!
Check out Cathleen’s mission!
And a few other recent Instagram stars helping show us all that you really can be an amazing dancer at every size:
A video posted by #breakingthestereotype (@amandalacount) on
You Tube: www.youtube.com/c/amandalacountofficial
This 15 year old breakdancer is #breakingstereotypes. She’s such a badass and transforming what’s possible for teen girls everywhere. Her videos are amazing to watch and she is inspiring AF.
A video posted by Lizzy ?? (@lizzy.dances) on
Lizzy is everything to me. And to my inner child. This ballerina stole my heart and I know she will steal yours too.
A video posted by Erik Cavanaugh (@erik_cav5493) on
Ok, he’s not a woman, but I had to give this guy a should out because, yet again, so inspiring. This regular guy from Pennsylvania is not at all what you’d expect of a ballet or contemporary dancer, but his grace, rhythm, and emotion is blowing us all away.
“I am not ashamed of who I am. I’m just trying to inspire children that may look like myself that all dreams are capable.” Erik
Do you know any other dancers who are busting through stereotypes and inspiring you? Please let us know!