Overweight Teen Ballet Dancer Goes Viral on Social Media
Quite by accident, a video Lizzy posted of herself on Instagram a few months before had gone viral. In the 10-second clip with Lizzy wearing a maroon leotard and footless tights, she is spinning on her toes practicing a classical ballet move called fouetté turns. Eleven times she twirls, gracefully extending her leg and whipping it around. Behind her several young dancers watch in appreciation. Fouetté turns take a great deal of skill and years of practice to master. But it was not only her impressive execution that resonated with the public, it was her size. Lizzy is overweight. When asked why she thought people were going crazy over her video, she shrugged. “I guess it’s because I don’t have the typical dancer body?”
There is no magic formula for viral videos, but certain images are common. Many of them feature adorable animals or kids. Many contain an element of surprise. They’re humorous, tell a story or elicit a strong emotional reaction. In Lizzy’s case, the message people took from it was a body-positive, feminist one: women can be or do anything regardless of their weight. They don’t have to be thin to dance. The video racked up views of more than 380,000. Thousands of people left comments praising Lizzy for her bravery. News organizations, drawn to the story of an inspiring teen breaking stereotypes, started calling. Overnight, she went from everyday teen to minor internet celebrity, joining a growing group of private citizens who are thrust into the national spotlight for a brief moment, then leave behind a digital footprint that can last a lifetime. It’s been three months since the clip went viral and Lizzy is still adjusting to the change. She is grateful for the attention to her dancing as it’s everything to her, but the fame also has come at a personal cost. While many comments have been positive, there’s also a barage of troll hostility that would be hard for any teenager to withstand. Meanwhile in offline life, relationships have deteriorated, a loss that cuts deep. Lizzy, who is home-schooled and gets most of her social interaction at her dance studio has seen friendships falter. Some of them with kids she’s been dancing with since she was 5. But Lizzy is strong. Maybe stronger than other teens her age. Her mother died when she was 5 and being raised by her legal guardian. The year her mom died she started to dance and she hasn’t stopped since. She practices at least four nights a week, taking classes in ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary. “Dance is her outlet for all her emotions, good and bad,” her guardian said. She also struggles with pseudotumor cerebri, a medical condition caused by excess swelling in the brain. Last year, she underwent four spinal taps. Still, she keeps dancing. It brings her joy and comforts her when she feels low.
Will the Overnight Notoriety End Up Being a Good Thing for Lizzy?
Susan Z’ Conclusion:
Yes. I feel she is grounded and strong but also flattered by all the attention regardless of the blasé attitude she presents.
This card represents creative potential and the seeds of new growth in life. I believe because of this experience, Lizzy will never be the same and whatever outcome is good.
Nine of Wands:
This card represents working through difficulties. The card is fairly self-explanatory for Lizzy.
Seven of Wands:
This card represents being challenged and making a stand. I feel this card shows she will have many opportunities in the future to be the feminine voice of those who don’t fit the norm.
Susan Z Rich is an emotional addiction counselor, spiritual intuitive and holistic therapist. She counsels others to see life in a more positive way and teaches personal accountability for life choices. She is also the author of several children’s books and Soul Windows…Secrets From The Divine.