Too Fat to Dance

When Adventures Staff Angela Aston encountered unlikely opposition to her love of dance and her desire to share it with young girls in Guatemala, she saw God move in a way that brought her new life and spoke directly to her heart. 

I’ve never thought these words would be spoken over me.

When I was younger I wanted to be a dancer. I loved to dance. As a teenager I struggled with an eating disorder. I was obsessive about my weight. I remember sometimes weighing myself 10+ times in a day, praying I had lost weight. I looked online to see how much a ballerina should weigh, and I was not even close to that. So I never took dance as a teenager.

Then, in college, I took ballet classes. You can imagine my excitement. I was so giddy going to the ballet store to pick up my leotard, tights, and shoes. I had so much joy every class, I daydreamed I was in New York getting ready for my next show. It was magical.

Dance has always brought me so much joy.

I even took my ballet slippers with me on the World Race and taught ballet in villages and orphanages. 

Since I arriving in Guatemala, I’ve wanted to start a dance ministry for the girls who work at the central park with their moms all day. With a lot of big ideas so there was just one thing left: I needed to brush up on my ballet. It’s been a few years since I have taken a class and I want to make sure I am offering these girls the best class possible. So I want to first be the best student I can be.

After a lot of research, I finally found a ballet studio near me. I was so excited; I couldn’t wait to talk with the instructor and sign up for classes. At first, all went well. I told the instructor I wanted information on classes. I was invited in and when I saw a ballet bar and mirrors, excitement welled up inside of me. But when the instructor told about the classes and their hours, she said that because I don’t do pointe I would have to be in the younger kids’ class. That really didn’t bother me. I’m not looking to become a professional; I just want to brush up.

But then she looked at me with a concerned look and said, “You’re too fat to dance here. You have to understand, if I let you in I would have to let other fat people in.”

I could not believe what was happening. The instructor said if I lost enough weight in the next month that I could be accepted into her class. Somehow I held it together, finished the conversation, and thanked her for her time.

A few weeks later, I went to a salsa class in this cute little studio with some friends. I was in love with how amazing this place was and how many walls had mirrors. After the class I asked our instructor where I could buy a mirror, because if I could not do ballet in a studio I was going to figure out how to do it at my house. She asked me why I needed such a large mirror, so I told her what happened at the ballet studio.

Gloria looked at me in disbelief and gave me a hug. Then she told me I could dance at her studio whenever I wanted.

And so I have, even locking up when after she’s left for the day.

Dancing in Guatemala has taught me to remember the power of my words. That every time I open my mouth I have the choice to speak life or death over a person or a situation.

It’s also taught me something deeply personal: that God knows the passions of my heart – because He placed them there. Dancing for him gives me joy; it gives me joy as well. The truth he speaks over me is that I am his Beloved Daughter who He delights in, and who he loves to see dance.

I dance for him and him alone. 

And now, I’m one step closer to pursuing this dream he has given me: a dance ministry for girls in Guatemala. 

Do you have a God-given dream and talent you want to share with others? Click here for opportunities to use your gifts overseas.