fat kids can dance
April 13, 2003 08:04 PM

There's a commonly held misconception that fat people are less graceful, that the bulk of our bodies makes it more difficult to move around. This misconception has been spread very nicely by folk who try on fat suits.

Empirically, it's just not true.

My partner teaches theatre to wee small children. And regular kids, too. Today I went to see his kids, and some older ones, perform. The performance content was - eh, okay [I'll get to that in a later post, as I have a lot to say re: our lack of respect for children's capacity to grasp art.] - but it served to point out something really interesting. About 30-50% of the kids were what you'd call fat, and those kids were invariably the best dancers and most interesting actors.

He thinks it's because they're more self-aware, that fatness might make them more skillful, rather than less so, at managing their bodies. So they're graceful, and can do things like make a dance movement seem emotional - in ways that not as many of the thin kids can.

I don't know if this is true or not, but it did make me think. Could being fat, contrary to most expectations, actually make you more physically skilled?

TrackBack : in fat & health stuff « who is a feminist? | Main | happy april »
your wicked thoughts

on the other hand, skinny kids are all bony and angular, so the lines of their bodies may make them appear less graceful compared to the fat kids.

these are the thoughts of missmeridian on April 14, 2003 11:28 AM

I should clarify (this is what I get for having typed that post while discussing the idea aloud) that when I say "graceful" I actually mean a combination of graceful and expressive.

So, the kids I noticed weren't just more precise in their movement (which I agree, could just be a question of how their bodies appear), but also more expressive, more present.

There's also the alternate theory that, since we make fat kids feel so horrid about their bodies, only the most confident and talented ones would pursue theatre and dance training.

Or there's alternate theory two, that fat kids are somehow inherently more transgressive and assertive (otherwise they'd just get thin already) and therefore only end up in the program because they want to be there, not because they're pressured.

These theories are all completely ungrounded, obviously, but it's something I'd like to know more about.

these are the thoughts of april on April 14, 2003 01:35 PM

I think there might be something to the idea that we donít think fat kids will be able to dance and so when they can we notice it. Where as with skinny kids who can dance we arenít as surprised. I also think that fat kids may try harder. I donít think it's comparative to skinny kids because they live in different worlds relative to how their bodies are perceived. And the perception of fat bodies does hold sway in terms of how fat folks are in their bodies. It may also be true for skinny kids but in different ways.
When I was a kid I loved to dance. People often said to me, ďYou donít move like a fat person.Ē

these are the thoughts of Tish on April 16, 2003 12:17 PM

fat kids are the most beautiful human beings in the world.

these are the thoughts of joe joe on September 26, 2004 09:29 PM

I think that it is true that yew, fat kids can dance, but no it is not as graceful!!!! Its inposibble for an overweight individual to get themselves off the gound (for a leap) in such a way that a lean person may. Its just the way that a person is composed. Dont get me wrong, im not saying that large people shouldnt be able to dance, its just that they are NOT as graceful.

these are the thoughts of Amilia on April 1, 2005 10:53 AM

please note that your IP address is logged when comments are posted, and comment abuse including spam will be investigated and reported to your internet service provider.

in this section
miss anything? (monthly)
artsy stuff
books & tv & internet stuff
fat & health stuff
feministy stuff
generally political stuff
nerdy & silly stuff
sexually liberated stuff
vaguely personal stuff
work & money stuff
i have a livejournal, too
more info
email me
design by seven ten


about the site wicked thoughts edge of the season arts links we have brains