Fitness
Bullied dancer gets the last laugh after earning the spotlight
Lizzy is still a dancer - and not because of viral fame, but because of her dedication and talent.
Jessica
10.07.21

Lizzy Howell is a talented dancer – she always has been.

But for years she had to put up with comments about her weight in dance class, despite dance being her one true escape.

When she was in preschool, she wanted to fit in with the other girls and begged her mom to put her in dance class. Although she signed up for other activities like soccer and swimming, dance was the thing that stuck.

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A post shared by Lizzy Howell (@lizzy.dances)

Dancing helps Lizzy get through hard times, like those she experiences with her disability.

She has pseudotumor cerebri, a condition that causes excess fluid around the brain.

She went blind for two full minutes before she was diagnosed and often suffers from incapacitating headaches — but all of that goes away when she starts to dance.

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A post shared by Lizzy Howell (@lizzy.dances)

In the years that Lizzy’s been dancing, she’s often been bullied because of her weight.

In Jordan Matter’s Unstoppable video, she says:

“I’ve been bullied in dance since I was six. It still happens when I go to conventions.”

“I had one girl deliberately step on my foot with a tap shoe.”

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A post shared by Lizzy Howell (@lizzy.dances)

For Lizzy, the bullying doesn’t stop with the students, however. Throughout her life, she’s been criticized and discriminated against by dance teachers who say she needs to lose weight. In an interview with Dia & Co, she recalled:

“A teacher at the time pulled me and my aunt aside and said that I needed to lose weight if I wanted to get better parts in the Nutcracker.”

Although people told Lizzy she’d never be good at dancing, she didn’t let the haters keep her down.

“Moving past [the criticism] was hard,” she told PEOPLE.

“I just have to remember why I stick with [ballet]. I can’t imagine my life without it.”

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A post shared by Lizzy Howell (@lizzy.dances)

Lizzy currently practices tap and ballet twice a week, on top of classes for contemporary, lyrical, modern, and jazz. To keep her family updated on her progress, she started posting videos to her Instagram account. Little did she know, however, she was about to go viral.

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A post shared by Lizzy Howell (@lizzy.dances)

A few years back, Lizzy shared a video that shows her performing a fouetté.

People were in awe of the way she could move, and the footage spread like wildfire.

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turning monday¿ #ballet#turn#balletdancer#dancer#foutte

A post shared by Lizzy Howell (@lizzy.dances) on

“I didn’t really understand why everyone thought it was so special,” she told POPSUGAR. “That’s just something I do all the time. I didn’t post it to go viral or share my story.” But since becoming an online sensation, Lizzy’s credited with shattering stereotypes about “the dancer body.” Lizzy was proud to participate in the Instagram #CaptureConfidence campaign and is also a spokesperson for “Dancers With Disabilities.”

Since going viral, she’s become a source of inspiration to many.

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A post shared by Lizzy Howell (@lizzy.dances)

And even though it’s been years since she’s gone viral – you better believe she’s still dancing!

That’s no surprise – just hear what she has to say in the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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