I'm feeling curmudgeony, so I thought I'd try to counter it with something positive. Not the web comic (both twisted AND funny), but just a little something to show that for each step back, there really is at least one forward!
A special on China Central Television today talks about the growing popularity of the "Danza Voluminosa," a ballet troupe composed of exclusively fat dancers.
A few folks have blogged about this in the past as it's cropped up in the news over the last decade, but the fact that it keeps on coming up might just convince the skeptics who think this sort of thing might be nothing more than a fad or publicity stunt.
To review the fat positive press on these dancers:
NPR covered the troupe in a very fat-positive piece in 2004.
Here's a Youtube Clip of the troupe performing.
There's even a documentary, if you can find it: Defying Gravity came out in 2004.
Unfortunately, while the troupe is in the perfect position to be advocates of fat acceptace, their manager is quick to dodge that mantle. From the New York Times article this year:
Mr. Mas said it would be a mistake to think that his work was intended to glorify or sanctify obesity, or even to deliver a moralistic message that one should not discriminate against the overweight. Rather, he said, the troupe’s art tries to face the reality of obesity while giving larger people a chance to express themselves through dance, a chance they are denied from childhood in most dance classes.
“Although we are obese and dance, we are against obesity,” Mr. Mas explained, saying parenthetically that he admires New York City for banning artificial trans fats from restaurants. “We are always trying to lose weight.”
The quotes from the dancers themselves are much more body positive, and the messages they portray with their dance are powerful regardless of what their choreographer really thinks about fat.
Much more fat friendly (and easier to catch in the U.S. considering the hoops performers from Cuba have to jump to come here) is Big Moves, a dance company with bases in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Montreal.
Featured in the Boston Globe in 2005, Figure Magazine in 2007, and on NPR in 2006, this year Big Moves was also awarded one of the National Women's Confidence Awards by Queen Latifah (before she began shilling for Jenny Craig), and took top honors in the 2007 Montreal Fringe Festival. They were also named Best Dance Company in 2006 by the Boston Phoenix.
Their latest show, "Lard, the Musical" (Like Grease, but Thicker) features a 1950's theme. If you missed it this fall, your last chance may be to catch it at the 2008 Montreal Fringe Festival.
So that's the happy thoughts for the day! If anyone has video clips of Big Moves, they'd be welcome. Otherwise, have a good weekend. I'll be up north in Frankenmuth Michigan at my brilliant and adorable nephew's 2nd birthday party, so no posts until I get back on Tuesday!
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