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#MySizeIsNotMyStory - Bari

What does the phrase "Body Positive" mean to you?
The acceptance that all body shapes, sizes and colors are beautiful.

Why is performing important to you?
Becoming another persona in dance, frees my mind and soul from "everyday life". My dance persona doesn't worry about her job or bills. I dance to be free.

What was it about your chosen art form that drew you?
All Body Acceptance! One of my first teachers was my size and it gave me the confidence to enter the dance world whole heartedly. The original troupe I was in had every body type you could think of and all were embraced.

What has your journey to body positivity been like?
it has had its ups and downs like any person. There are days when I am confident and radiant and nothing can pull me down. There are days when I feel more negative and I give too much energy and time to self-doubt and media ideals of beauty. It has taken years (decades?) to become the confident person I am. Dance has certainly helped with my self esteem and positive body imaging.

What, if any, impression(s) do you hope your audience walks away from your performances with?

I want people to watch me as the professional, funny, sexy dancer. Not "She is great for her size" but just enjoy the performance as art and not focus on my body shape.

What do you want people to know about your story as it relates to participating in this project?
I can remember being teased for being bigger than all the kindergartners. I remember my friend's mother saying how lucky I was to be her beautiful daughter's friend. I remember the absolute torture of middle school. I remember being the "funny, fat one" in a high school of all thin girls. I remember men trying to keep me a secret so their friends don't know they are dating a plus sized girl.

I remember waking up and deciding to surround myself with positive people.
I remember finding dance as a way to feel beautiful, strong and safe.
I remember creating a troupe of beautiful women who care more about the size of a person's heart than the size of their bedleh.
I remember meeting the love of my life who fell for my laugh and biting wit (and unquestionable love of cookies).
I remember that I am me.
And that is perfect.
#MySizeIsNotMyStory - Bari