The Performance Company dancers come from diverse backgrounds, have different experiences and interests. We all, however, have something in common – a shared insecurity that affects some of us once in a while and others every moment of every day. Whether tall, small, thin, curvy, athletic, or delicate, we often think:
“My body is not beautiful”
This is a painful realization we wanted to kick in the butt! That’s where the idea for this documentary and toolkit was born. We decided to work together toward changing our negative relationships with our bodies because we could see the beauty in each other. Also, we believe that girls have the RIGHT to feel GOOD about their looks and shape.
Unapologetic Beauty Documentary
This short film documents the experiences, opinions, fears, and growth of a group of teenaged girls tackling body image issues.
- their explorations of beauty
- their difficult yet honest reflections
- their determination to help each other become more confident
- and the ways in which they are learning to love themselves
When we perform, it’s more a “sharing” than a performance because of the way we connect with each other and our audiences. We are about human connection — the feeling you get from actually relating to another person in an intimate space.
One of our former Performance Company members, 16-year-old Kaitlyn, created this dance piece about her experience in learning to love her body with the help of the performance company. It is a powerful testament to the pressures young women feel to conform and the strength it takes to refuse to let media and consumer culture make us feel bad about how we look.
The Unapologetic Beauty Toolkit
This resource has been designed to help young women:
- THINK CRITICALLY about conventional beauty standards
- HAVE FUN by building a supportive community of girls that have each other’s backs
- and CELEBRATE BEAUTY in diversity, creativity, and friendship
With this toolkit, we hope to inspire young women. Whether you are an Educator or a Teen – the documentary, dance and workshops are conceived to facilitate the journey towards SELF LOVE.
Designing this process has helped us recognize the impossibility of perfection and the impact that media, social media, and marketing have on us. This journey has also fueled the fire inside each of us to be free! We want control over our own bodies and how we feel about them.
This toolkit is a FREE resource made by young women for young women and we hope it gets lots of use! To make sure girls have access to the best confidence-building materials possible, we would love your feedback! We want to know who is using the toolkit, how effective it is and how our resources can become more accessible and useful.
Workshop Contents of the Kit
Affirmation and Pass-it-on Cards
Be your own cheerleader or help support a friend by making hand-made cards with inspiring quotes or phrases that counter negative self-talk.
Our Beautiful World – A Landscape
Grab some friends and any number of art supplies and ask yourselves, what does beauty really look like? What things do you find beautiful?
Best Part of Me
Inspired by Wendy Ewald’s book, “The Best Part of Me,” take pictures of the body part you each like best and create a group vernissage!
Meals can be stressful for young women feeling insecure about their bodies. Make your favorite lunch or dinner dishes to share and have a feast celebrating healthy, tasty food and each other.
With or without dance experience, these workshops are easy to follow and encourage you to be more curious and comfortable with the body you have.
Choose several myths that you believe are NOT TRUE! Take a turn sharing and demonstrating how these statements are false.
Dig deep into why it’s so hard to love our bodies with these discussion questions. The questions include sensitive material and are intended for groups with strong emotional safety.
You must agree to abide by the following guidelines before accessing the Workshop PDFs below.
- Some aspects of this toolkit are meant ONLY for scenarios where relationships are strong and there is genuine trust between students and teachers. For example, the material in our workshop on discussion questions is likely too sensitive for a traditional classroom.
- It takes courage to discuss what we love and feel insecure about when it comes to our bodies. It also takes a safe space in order for this courage to manifest. There are absolutely NO right or wrong answers and it is important that no student is pressured to answer. What’s more, whatever conversations are generated—post activity or video—please make sure no one is forced to comment and that support is available for any girl who may need it.
- If you are absolutely sure your classroom, club, social group, etc. is equipped to explore more difficult subject matter, please be advised that you MUST have support on hand or referrals available (guidance counselor, psychologist, etc.) for any student that may be emotionally triggered. Do not plan a discussion group that will be rushed, due to time restraints, or forced, due to challenging relationship dynamics, such as cliques or bullying.
- We would also stress that NO part of this toolkit be evaluated. Journaling, journal portfolios, crafts, and participation in discussions all have potential to generate important reflections and discoveries. However, if these are approached through an evaluative lens they will be significantly less honest and wholly less valuable for the girls—whom these kits are created for.
- Please click the “I agree!” button below to access the PDFs and agree to all the above guidelines — including NOT using this toolkit for evaluative purposes. You will approach all facilitation with a ‘no wrong answer’ philosophy and you will NOT force a participant to contribute.