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This Plus-Size Ballerina Defies the "Ballet Body" Stereotype

Frostine Shake

When you think of the quintessential ballerina, images of Black Swan-esque Natalie Portman or insanely strong Misty Copeland might come to mind (and both of them beautiful and crazy talented in their own way). But Frostine Shake, a ballerina from Austin, TX, is becoming the body-positive champion that will permanently change the way you perceive the words "ballet body."

Body Pos Ballerina Stairs

Iliana Vera (AKA Frostine) is a model, international burlesque performer, makeup artist, and designer who's been a classically-trained ballet dancer most of her life (she started at age six or seven). However, there was a time when she quit—around age 16 or 17—because she felt too much pressure to be thin, according to Buzzfeed. Soon after, she obtained a B.F.A. in Fashion Design from The University of North Texas, got her her cosmetology license, and discovered her love of burlesque as a body-positive way to express herself.

Her signature performance style, however, throws back to her ballet days. So she reconnected with childhood friends who had become ballet teachers, and got back into her pointe shoes. Frostine teamed up with fellow burlesque performer Sin O Rita to start Black Satin Burlesque troupe in south Texas, and now she appears as a solo dancer on international burlesque stages in London, Switzerland, Holland, and Norway, proving that any body deserves a place on the stage—even one that doesn't mesh with traditional expectations.

My feet ! Photo by : @raecimagery

A photo posted by Frostine Shake (@frostineshake) on

Her success has encouraged other women to try ballet, no matter their size or experience. As one Instagram user wrote on Frostine's Instagram photo: "Your pointe photos inspired me to become a #plussizeballerina and started yesterday! Thank you @frostine_shake!"

There's just one thing we have to say to her: Keep slaying.

If Frostine has you feeling all the #bodylove feels, then you'll love to see how these women answered the call of our #LoveMyShape campaign. (But if she just makes you want to be a ballerina, there's always barre.)

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