As the daughter of a dancer, I grew up observing my mother and her friends’ constant obsession with bodily perfection. In their minds, nothing was ever good enough – thighs were too thick, stomachs were too soft and squishy, bottoms were too bulbous.
None of it was true, of course. They were beautiful, all of them, and each one was incredibly talented. And surely, I thought, that was all that mattered. Right?
To be a ballerina, I soon realized, you really did have to be perfect.
You couldn’t be oversized.
Or have any flaws in your physique.
And if you relied on a wheelchair to help you run,
You could bet your dancing days were done.
But I didn’t like that. I didn’t like watching my mother and her friends torturing themselves with grueling exercise regimes, restrictive diets, and self-loathing binges. I didn’t like seeing beautiful, talented people being convinced of the fact that, just because they didn’t fit a certain type of societal mold, they were worthless. I wanted a world where dancers were appreciated for what they could do, not for what they looked like.
And that’s when Olga Dolovich, and the fellow members of The Fat Ballet Company, popped into my head.
Over the years, this story has gone through many revisions and reincarnations, many edits and alterations. The final outcome is fun and flippant, full of bawdy humor and bad language. But the message has stayed the same:
FAT BALLET – Dance Without Discrimination!
It’s not easy being Olga Dolovich. Orphaned at a time when she had only just begun to appreciate her parents, tormented by her beautiful-but-bitchy sex goddess of a sister, and doomed to clean the world’s dirtiest bathroom, Olga doesn’t exactly lead a charmed life. But worst of all, at least in her tortured mind, is the fact that she’s fat. Too fat for comfort. Too fat for beauty. And much, much too fat to be a ballerina.
But ballet, unfortunately, is what Olga lives and breathes for. What’s a poor, plump, bathroom cleaner with artistic ambitions to do? Under normal circumstances, she’d have no choice but to watch as her dreams got washed down the drain. But when Harold Pinsky, the eccentric heir to a toilet paper fortune, dances into her life, circumstances become anything but normal. Harold, like Olga, has the right kind of talent, but the wrong kind of body to be a professional ballet dancer. Unlike Olga, however, he’s not about to let some stupid societal convention stand in the way of their happiness.
With the help of a few equally imperfect friends, plus one extremely unexpected supporter, they start The Fat Ballet Company – a dance troupe dedicated to breaking down barriers, crushing conventionalism, and squashing stereotypes. But is the world ready for such an enlightened art form? And is Olga ready to come to terms with her less-than-flawless self? FAT BALLET – Dance Without Discrimination!
*Please note: this novel contains bad language and bawdy humor*
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