Interview with Plus Size Ballerina Júlia Del Bianco…
For our cover model, Plus Size Ballerina Júlia Del Bianco, dance is something she has always loved from a very early age. Sadly, she also knew that her body type was not what most people were looking for in the dance industry. Her story is common among many in the entertainment industry but for Julia what society deemed acceptable was not going to determine her life choices. Today she is a professional dancer and an inspiration to many.
Get to know… Júlia Del Bianco
Where are you from Júlia?
I was born in Limeira, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, where I still live today.
Did you always love dance or ballet as a child?
I always wanted to dance and I don’t know when I started to be a ballerina. It’s something that’s always been part of my life and I can’t see my life without dance and ballet, even though I realized from an early age that my body was not considered suitable for it.
I started dancing at the age of 3 at preschool and at a specialized school at the age of 6. I graduated in Dance from UNICAMP – State University of Campinas, working as a dancer and teacher. It’s a lifelong passion that has become my profession.
I always faced many challenges to continue in Ballet not having a standard body for it, but I think I was always very dedicated and I was very clear about what I wanted and my goals, which maybe even made me a little stubborn. I still get a lot of criticism and a lot of hate, but the affection and encouragement I get on social media are much greater. In addition, I am single-sided deaf, which also made me face even more challenges.
In your view what is the culture around being plus size in Brazil?
Brazil is a very mixed country with people of all shapes, sizes, and origins. However, prejudice and fatphobia are still very present, being one of the countries that most perform plastic surgeries.
There are many changes in fashion and in other areas such as dance, arts, and sports, but there are always people who still see our bodies as sick and inadequate, which makes everyday life a little difficult.
I also see that some basic rights are lacking, such as having appropriate places for our bodies, such as seats, furniture, turnstiles, and medical equipment, among others.
Another very important factor is that Brazil is a country with a lot of inequality and low-income people do not always have access to basic needs, much less to quality clothes that they can identify with.
However, at the same time, I see that in fashion there are many smaller brands that are very good and produce incredible authorial fashion, as well as some bigger brands starting to produce plus size clothes with more style and quality, but unfortunately, not everyone is able to consume this.
What events and organizations are helping to change the view of plus-size people in Brazil?
The most important is Pop Plus @popplusbr, which in addition to being a fair, is also a portal for knowledge, fashion, art, and culture and also produces other events. It´s the largest plus size fashion event in Latin America, bringing together more than 100 plus size fashion brands, most of which are copyrighted, in addition to also having space for dance, music, artist exhibitions, and debates on fashion and the plus size body. It is organized by Flávia Durante and takes place four times a year… in 2023 it will be March 11th and 12th, June 24th and 25th, September 2nd and 3rd, and December 9th and 10th.
Other events are Hashtag Fair – Rio de Janeiro (May 6th and December 16th), BH Estilo Plus – Belo Horizonte (February 3rd and 4th, July and November to be confirmed), and BPSPOA Plus Size Fashion Fair – Porto Alegre (Dates to be confirmed).
I created Dance For Plus @danceforplus, which encourages anyone who feels out of place and wants to feel included in Ballet classes. During the pandemic, it was exclusively online, but now it works through workshops and short courses.
There are also several other very important initiatives in various areas passing on a more positive view of our bodies.
As a plus-size ballerina, you are breaking a stereotype all over the world. What is your message to young people who wish to pursue dance?
Dance and Ballet are an Art and a way to express yourself in the world. This shouldn’t be exclusive to one body type. Many people believe that to follow their dreams and goals it is necessary to have a body that was stipulated as ‘right’, but the body pattern is always changing and there will always be something that you need to change about yourself.
When we look at what we want and how we feel when we do it, we realize that other people’s opinions don’t matter much, because they don’t know about our struggles and dreams. And in dance, this is no different.
Fortunately, today we see many interesting Ballet initiatives, not only for children but also for adults, which embrace all bodies. The important thing is to always be in a place where your body is not a problem and where you feel welcomed.
This is also possible thanks to some brands that are producing plus size clothing for ballet classes, as without them it would be very difficult to feel comfortable practicing the steps.
I was very lucky to have in my family my mother who sews and who made many of my class clothes throughout my life, as well as some costumes that I also make together with her.
I try to be the ballerina and the inspiration I never had. I had inspirations in other areas, but not in Ballet. I always felt inadequate and that I should fit in until the day I saw that what I considered my flaws were actually my power and my differential. And being an inspiration in Dance can also encourage other people to follow their goals, regardless of what area they are in.
What would you say to the many people around the world who may be feeling like something is out of their reach simply because society tells them they can’t because of their size?
We will never have an ideal body. The “perfect body” does not exist, as this idea is shaped by various factors and conventions that always contribute to our dissatisfaction with our bodies. Thinking about it, there will always be something that we are not going to fit in and there will always be people to comment on our body, mainly because this is also a form of control of our body and especially of the woman’s body.
That is, no matter what you do, there will always be someone to criticize you and your body and even consider it sick. That’s why the important thing is to do what you like, fight for your dreams, and achieve your goals because, in the end, we are the ones who will be fulfilled. So start, try, seek, and don’t mind comments from those who don’t know what it’s like to be you. Whether it’s that exercise that’s good for you or that dream you didn’t take off paper.
If this is still too difficult for you, start slowly and with small things. Slowly you manage to recover your self-esteem and do the things you like and fight for bigger goals.
Thank you so much Julia for being an inspiration to all of us.
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Courtesy of Pop Plus Event in Brazil, Flavia Durante