The review for my ballet class asks “Why did you take this course?” I wrote that I needed another PE class for graduation requirements and I wanted to try something new. This is true, but it’s so much more.
I talked to friends who took that class before and waffled about taking that class or a swim class which would be so much easier for me. I chose ballet because I wanted to do an activity that I knew I wouldn’t be good at. I wanted to do something visual. I wanted to be confronted with the image of my body doing things. I wanted to force myself to find grace and beauty in my body, even if that looks different form my peers. I wanted to show everyone in the class that although my body is fat and moves differently, I don’t hate it and that it is still capable. I wanted to prove to myself that although my body is not invincible or perfect I am still proud of it. I wanted to challenge my own internalized misogyny with dance being a “girly” and thus “stupid” or “vapid” activity. I wanted to learn how to point my toes and plié like a motherfucking queen. I wanted to be intentionally present in my body. I wanted to challenge my own body acceptance.
This is Manuela Wisbeck, a participant of the German TV competition “Let’s dance” (channel RTL). She’s an actor. Further pics: