These Women Are Destroying Stereotypes About What Dancers Should Look Like

Dancer Akira Armstrong has been featured in two Beyoncé music videos, but when she flew to Los Angeles, she couldn't find an agent to represent her — due to her size. "When people think about the stereotypical dancer's body, they think [of someone] very thin, tall, long legs, long arms," Armstrong said in a video for The Scene. "Growing up in a dance environment, I did feel like my body was a negative [thing]," she said. I couldn't fit [into] costumes, and my costume was always different from everyone else's." Armstrong also opened up about flying to Los Angeles and going on auditions, only to feel judged based on by her body type and not given the opportunity to prove herself. Her experiences, she said, led her to create Pretty Big Movement, a full-figured dance company that shuts down the stereotype of all dancers having thin, lithe bodies. "After going on auditions and being told no, I wanted to create a platform for other plus-sized women to feel comfortable," she said. She also added that she hopes the Pretty Big Movement will inspire young girls to know that they can be a part of the dance community, no matter what their size. It looks as though Armstrong's work is already plenty inspiring — as one Facebook user commented on The Scene's video, "Women of all shapes and sizes should be represented on television. I want to see more from them."

More from Body

R29 Original Series