Q&A With Maribeth Tabanera

Name: Maribeth Tabanera

Age: 29

How old were you when you started dancing? 4 (or maybe in the womb lol)

What do you love about your body? I love that I’m small but strong.

 

QUESTIONS

Why do you dance?

I dance because I want to, need to, and have to. It’s a part of who I am and how I express my emotions. I dance because it makes me happy, but also makes others happy. When I share my passion through teaching, collaborating with my peers or battling, there is a special connection I have with those people in those moments that cannot be relived or replicated. It is a positive vibe that has an incredibly inspiring rippling effect on each others lives.

 

Why is body positivity important in dance?

Body positivity is important in dance because dance is not just for those who look like the “stereotypical fit person”. Dance is for everyone. If people want to move to music, then they should be able to no matter what they look like. When I look at Olympic athletes and their body types, you see all sizes and shapes. Why should dance be any different?

 

Have you ever experienced body negativity as a dancer?

Yes

 

In a few words, what happened?

When I was a young girl dancing around in my living room, my mom asked me one day if I’d like to take ballet classes. I said no. I didn’t like the idea of being in a room full of ballerinas, because in my mind I thought my thicker body type and brown skin would make me be an outsider. From what I had seen in the media, there were no representations of dancers who looked like myself in ballet classes so I had no interest in it.

 

What can other teachers and studio owners do to improve body positivity in their classes?

Teachers and studio owners could make sure when they advertise for their schools, their marketing includes images and videos of students of all body types. Of course, this will come from welcoming all body types in their classes in the first place. I also believe talking about body positivity is an important topic to discuss in the dance studio. Dancing is a physical activity. As teachers, we should be modelling and teaching our students about what it means to live a healthy and balanced life. Healthy does not equal skinny. Healthy equals strong and confident!

Natasha Rey