Cuba is famous for its well-trained and fit dancers. But now some plus-sized women are changing the game by performing the famous “Swan Lake” of the ballerina dance form. These women are defying the beauty stereotype by just being themselves and yet braving it up to perform. At a place which has so many well-trained dancers, this surely comes across as a surprise.
The women started performing only recently and they got mixed reactions from the audience. “The first few times we performed, there was this deathly silence. Some people got up and left. Some laughed. But when people saw how developed our work was and how impressive, with so much work behind it and such aesthetic meaning, in the end they applauded. We won over the audience,” expressed Mas, as stated by the Bangkok Post. The applause soared the happiness of the Cuban dancers who have practiced long enough to finally come out with a performance.
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These plus-sized women are encouraged to do ballerina by a 50-year-old trained dancer Juan Miguel Mas. He being broad himself, started a group called Danza Voluminosa troupe in 1996 where he said women don’t come to lose weight but just to dance. This all-women group practice for twice a week in a small apartment in Havana’s working class Marianao neighbourhood. Mas who has spent 20 years doing ballerina has put in a lot of effort in thinking out moves for an overweight body. Moves that could be performed “aesthetically better.”
“You come here to feel like a ballerina. You are fat and you have the desire and the need to express yourself through movement. It helps obese people to develop not only artistically, but also socially. Our dances will not be the same as thin people’s dances” affirms Mas about his disciples in a report by France24.
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Though Cuba is a land of trained and fit dancers, it still is a place filled with obese people. A state nutrition body, SISWAN did a research in 2012 which showed that a whopping 44% population is overweight. The troupe has people anywhere between 100kgs to 120kgs. It started with a group of 20 members, but now only seven are left. Some have left the troupe and two have died with weight-related problems.
Picture Credit- Yahoo