If like me you followed Channel 4’s fabulous 3 part TV programme Big Ballet you could not fail to be impressed with the inspiring journey the dancers took to get to their performance in the final episode. For those of you that don’t know this TV show, Big Ballet followed a troupe of plus-size amateur dancers as they attempted to realise their dream of dancing Swan Lake. To help these rotund ballerinas the producers engaged dance legend Wayne Sleep, a man who as the shortest dancer ever to make his debut on the Royal Ballet stage had to overcome prejudice himself. Under the watchful eye of Wayne and prima ballerina Monica Loughman the dancers unlock the world of ballet for a wider audience and break one of the biggest taboos in ballet: size.
In celebration of their success I have here a series of photographs of ballet performed by plus-size ballerinas, and I think they look great! I must confess I found these images on my hard-drive but apart from knowing they hark from 2007 I have no information about who they are, where they are or who took the photos. If you can shed light on them then please tell us by leaving a comment.
Just to let you know, their performance was accomplished and certainly not laughable. More engrossing, however, was observing the effect of this success on the dancers. Dance graduate Emma Roby, who works in a sweet shop, said that she used to be sent to the back of her ballet class to blend in with the boys. Performing for Sleep gave her back her confidence. Hannah started ballet lessons at three, but gave up auditioning two years ago, feeling “trapped” by her size. The show, she said, had given her “freedom”.
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