Love Your Body

Teen ballerina Lizzy Howell's amazing twirl in viral video inspires others

Want to feel lazy, uncoordinated, and ... oddly inspired?

Take a look at this video that 15-year-old Lizzy Howell of Milford, Delaware posted to Instagram last month that recently went viral. Powell has been dancing for ten years, so her pirouette game is (literally) on point — and many are calling her an "inspiration" and a "role model" for body confidence and diversity.

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

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

Howell currently trains four nights a week, plus rehearsals on the weekends — so for her, social media was a natural way to keep friends and family in the loop.

"It was a way to let my school friends see what I do," she told TODAY via email.

RELATED: Male ballet dancer defies stereotypes with body-positive message

But last week, Howell's pirouette video went viral, with over 177,000 views at press time — and her following jumped from roughly 1,000 real-life acquaintances to over 54,000 internet friends.

The comments on the original video are, by and large, incredibly positive. Many seem to recognize their own struggles in Powell, and applaud her confidence in a sport where body diversity is often scarce:

  • vix1pal wrote, "YAY! Your form is great... ballet with a chest... kinda sucks... just means you are better and work harder! My young niece is a dance I'm SO SO grateful that women of all sizes show everyone how it's done! When I was a kid they bullied me right out of there when my chest kept growing and I got curves! Baby you ARE MY HERO! You are AMAZING XOXOXO."
  • antoinette_515 wrote, "I'm obsessed !!!!@emilyirisxo she is so graceful and talented! Makes me want to punch dad for saying I could never do ballet because I was "too big."
  • rosemageddon wrote, "I'm a plus-sized dancer myself and i get so much hate for it but this really inspired me to keep going with it. keep doing you :)"
  • alliemary617 wrote, "You are so amazing i was a plus size dancer too and even tho i didn't look like all the other girls it didn't stop me from doing what i love!!!! You are so amazing never stop dancing!"

Oh, and then there was this gem:

RELATED: Nike's recent sports bra ad on Instagram receives 'body positive' praise online

"It feels good to be a role model for all women," said Howell. "In the dance world, it shouldn't matter what size I am, the only thing that should matter is my technique."

And she'd like to send a message to those who identify with her video. "Don't let anyone stop you from doing what you love," she said. "If people are hating on you, they don't know you or your story, so it shouldn't bother you."

A round of applause for that —and the top-notch twirling, of course!

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