Dancer and choreographer Akira Armstrong is living proof that despite facing some pretty big challenges, nothing can get in your way.
As a plus size dancer, Armstrong overcame lots of judgment and body shaming. In a new mini-documentary on The Scene, the New York native discusses her experience in the dance world, and talks about her dance collective – largely of color – Pretty BIG Movement. The dance company is designed to give more voluptuous women opportunities in the dance world to showcase their talent.
After dancing for Beyoncé in 2007, for her “Get Me Bodied” and “Green Light” videos, Armstrong was rejected from representation by agents because of her size. She recalls her dimensions always being an issue for her.
“Growing up in a dance environment I did feel like my body was a negative,” she says in the video below. “My costume was always different than anyone else’s. I wanted to wear my stomach out. I have never been able to wear my stomach out ever. Family members used to make fun of me, and it was frustrating.”
Her main goal is to motivate other women and little girls, who are plus size, to dance and do whatever as they see fit.
“When they see us perform I want them to be inspired,” she adds. ” I want them to feel like of they came in the room thinking that ‘these big girls ain’t really going to do it—I want them to leave like ‘I was blown away.’ I want the little girl that’s watching to be like ‘ hey ma I can do that too, look at these big girls with Afros on.”
The ladies of Pretty BIG Movement have taken the stage at venues like: the Female Hip Hop Honors, Ms. Full Figured USA Pageant, Ladies Of Hip Hop and Carnival, and were on Season 10 of America’s Got Talent, reports Her Daily.
Get better acquainted with the collective holding it down for plus size dancers and choreographers; learn more about Pretty BIG Movement, here.