FridaySaturday Hoyden: Ragen Chastain

Ragen and Rowdy dancingRagen’s excellent blog is called Dances With Fat (tagline: Dancers Come In All Shapes and Sizes) and it’s a cracker. From her bio:

Most people would say that I’ve accomplished a lot in my life. I’ve certainly been extremely lucky at every turn. I’ve been a cheerleading captain, a varsity athlete, my class valedictorian, a National Merit Scholar, and played Carnegie Hall. I’ve been sold for air conditioners in West Africa, started two successful businesses, and most recently won three National Dance Championships.

But all of that pales in comparison to my greatest accomplishment – learning to love myself and my body, and to be truly happy living completely outside the cultural beauty norm. As a plus-sized professional athlete, I am a strong advocate for the Health at Every Size initiative. I strongly believe (and am living proof!) that health is about on what our bodies can do, not how they are shaped, and that we are all free to stop buying into the idea that our size determines our abilities or our success.

On Dances With Fat, Ragen writes passionately about her love of dance and her loathing of the condescension and disdain targeting her weight while ignoring her talents and strengths. For pure fun, watch the video (in the multimedia box in the right sidebar) of her dancing with her partner in competition, you’ll need the goodwill simmering away before you face the medical attitudes displayed in “A Tale of Two Cholesterol Tests“. To recover from the taste of that, try reading her moment of clarity post from 2005, “Hot Hottie Manifesto“.

Watching this has reminded me that I’ve been thinking of going dancing with my fella for regular recreation for a while now and never done anything about it – he was a keen dancer when we met, I learnt a bit and then the kids came along and we never took it up again. Does anyone know a fun and non-fat-shaming Latin dance instructor around Sydney’s inner west?

h/t to HG on Facebook, another Austinite who heard of her through a friend and thought Ragen was our sort of Hoyden. She was right.



Categories: arts & entertainment, social justice

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1 reply

  1. I have a friend who teaches a wonderful Argentine tango class in Leichhardt. Here’s the website: http://www.tangoencanto.com

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