If you've been on Twitter over the past few days, chances are, you've seen a video of a ballet dancer doing a pretty impressive spin. The ballerina in question, 15-year-old Lizzy Howell, has inspired people to dance after the mesmerising clip of her fouetté took the internet by storm over the weekend. Though Howell originally posted the video to her Instagram page over a month ago, it gained traction after Twitter user @sailorfemme posted it to her page on Sunday.
Thousands of other people have watched and retweeted the video, praising Howell for her strength and balance as well as for bringing a little more diversity to dance.
"My video has been shared all over the world, which is a big thing for someone where I live," Howell told the Daily Mail. Howell, who lives in Milford, DE, also told the Daily Mail that the video also earned her over 22,000 more followers on Instagram as many users took to her page to comment on how inspiring they found her. While Howell is grateful that she's become a source of inspiration for so many, she has conflicting feelings about being called a "plus-sized dancer." "I do not like when people say, 'Oh my gosh I can't believe she's better than me!' she told Daily Mail. "That implies that plus-sized people can't dance, and it makes me feel self-conscious." "It shouldn't matter how much I weigh, the only thing that should matter is my passion for dance," she added. Howell also told BuzzFeed that dance helped her through her struggles with pseudotumor cerebri, a condition that causes an excess of fluid around the brain. And now, she's using her viral fame to shine a light on being a dancer with disabilities as a spokesperson for the Dancing For You campaign to raise awareness for those with special needs. Not only is Howell breaking down barriers and stereotypes about what dancers should look like, she's also inspiring others to do the same — it's no wonder why she's getting so much social media love.