By Shikha Sreenivas
Akira Armstrong has wavy neon pink-purple locks, and a body that moves to the rhythm like a storm. In this video by The Scene, she talks about moving to Los Angeles, and how hard it was for her to find dancer jobs because “people look at you and they already judge you based on your size”.
The girls in this video dance like no one’s watching, challenging the self-consciousness that the media and society pushes on women, by telling us what our bodies should be like, and what we are allowed to do with them.
The insecurities this caused for her, led to her founding Pretty Big Movement, for big girls who want to dance. Pretty Big Movement are a group of dancers who are swinging their hips to break dancer stereotypes.
“When people think about the stereotypical dancer’s body,” she says, “they think very thin, tall, long legs, long arms.” She explains that growing up in a dance environment, she always felt her body was a negative. When she was younger, she could never use the dancer costumes everyone else wore, and even though she always wanted to wear her stomach out, she never has been able to.
“It’s about uplifting and empowering women to feel like they can be confident to do anything,” she says, “not just dance.”
This video brings to mind Naomi’s Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, where she writes, “The beauty myth is always actually prescribing behaviour and not appearance.” But Pretty Big Movement isn’t going to let any behaviour be prescribed to them, they’re quite happy moving to the beat like it’s nobody’s business.