Plus Size International News: New UK Reality TV Show “Big Ballet” Teaches Plus Size Women How To Be Ballerinas
There’s a new reality show in the UK and it’s one that has people questioning whether it will be inspiring and empowering or will the contestants be humilated?
The premise of the show ‘Big Ballet’ is to turn plus size women into ballet dancers with the help of choreographer/dancer Wayne Sleep and ballet dancer Monica Loughman. The Guardian UK reports that over 500 people answered the following advertisement for the show:
“Have you ever dreamt of being a ballet-dancer but feel your size holds you back? Have you ever imagined dancing on a big stage in front of an adoring crowd? We are looking for talented dancers aged 18-55 to take part in our new series about ballet. No previous ballet experience necessary. If you’re interested to hear more, we’d love to talk to you!”
Hannah Baines, one of the women chosen to be on the show who’s a size 18, told The Guardian UK:
“I can dance, I know I can. I had just been put off by my weight. Just because I’m big doesn’t lessen my dancing ability. There’s no movement I can’t do.”
Ballet dancer and “Big Ballet” coach Monica Loughman also agrees that plus size women can dance:
“You can be big and still be elegant. Back in the day, Marilyn Monroe was a size 14. Some of these women have amazing figures. One has the longest arms I’ve ever seen. She’s just got boobs and a bum, too.”
The group of 16 women (who range in sizes up to a 26) and two men are followed through auditions, training and then a performance of Swan Lake at St George’s Hall, Bradford. The women on the show have admitted that they have some concern that people will laugh at them. The show’s producers are being sensitive to that fact and want the women to feel comfortable. That was what factored in on the decision for the dancers to not wear tutus. Instead, the ladies are rocking feather headdresses and flapper dresses in a 20’s theme.
With anyone above a size 12 considered large in the world of ballet, this is a great move to breaking size barriers and showing the world that plus size women can dance. However, there are some evident signs that it will take time for the opinions of others to change in that aspect, like Wayne Sleep calling the women ( in an interview) “quite frankly fat. They’re too big to be dancers and they don’t mind me saying it.” And he is a coach on the show! Also, why not let them wear tutus if they wanted to?
As for this show empowering these women or humiliating them, we shall see. However, the positive attitude that they all have and their willingness to put themselves out there because of their love for dance already makes them winners in our book.
Big Ballet premiered in the UK on Thursday, 2/6/14. To get updates and news about the show, click here to check out the official Facebook page.
To read the entire article about the show over at The Guardian UK, click here.