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#onlyjoy - Jaisan

What does the phrase "Body Positive" mean to you?
That I can be whoever I am and love my shape without being a size 4.

Why is performing important to you?
I love the various characters that we portray. That I can reach the audience and they see the story and feelings that I am presenting. And I can connect with them on a visceral level.

What was it about your chosen art form that drew you?
I love the colors. The connection with history, music and the connection with my fellow dancers.

What has your journey to body positivity been like?
It has been a struggle. Learning to see the positives and embrace them. Learning to not give voice to the negatives and not to let them control what I do. That negative voice can be really loud in my head. But everyday I remind myself that my mirror lies. That even though I am not the Hollywood standard I have stories to tell and I am allowed to tell them. I don't have to wait from some mythic tomorrow or "when I get in shape/When I lose weight." In fact I feel that if you have a story to tell you should tell it as it may be the thing that inspires someone else to tell their story and something great will happen because of this.

What, if any, impression(s) do you hope your audience walks away from your performances with?
Joy. I want everyone to have a sense that if there is an activity that makes them happy they should be able to share it and bring more smiles into this world. For it is far to serious a place on most days!

What do you want people to know about your story as it relates to participating in this project?
The best thing that happens is when someone comes up to me after a performance and asks if I know any teachers in their area. That now that they have seen someone with a similar body to theirs they can dance also!
#onlyjoy - Jaisan