FI consider myself an athletic person, even when I’m not being active. It’s been eight years since I stopped playing sports, but I miss them every day. As an adult, practicing movement feels like another chore and requires more research, planning, and money than I have to spare. I’m in the middle of healing my relationship with exercise, and I worried that joy in movement as an adult was a fantasy. Then I found Fat Kid Dance Party.
Fat Kid Dance Party (FKDP) is an aerobics class created and taught by glittering goddess Bevin Branlandingham with the intention of using dance to heal from body oppression. Class is open to all sizes and is described as “a mash-up of dance aerobics, line dancing, sing-alongs and unbridled enthusiasm.”
The rub? Class, like Branlandingham herself, is on the other side of the country. “Damn,” I thought. “Another opportunity missed.” And then, like a glowing beacon of sweat and hope, I saw it: an Indiegogo campaign raising money to bring FKDP to every home through video! I pledged $40 on the spot.
I’m happy to report the wait was well worth it! I’ve done the FKDP videos more times in the last two months than I’ve done any other workout because they make me feel so dang good! The first time I did the 30-minute confidence workout, I laughed and cried because no exercise had made me feel so worthy and seen.
As fat peeps, our bodies have been through a lot. I understand why you may hesitate to drop $40+ on workout videos, a genre notorious for fatphobia, so here are nine reasons why you should give Fat Kid Dance Party a chance.
1. Fat Kid Dance Party encourages movement out of love, not hate.
The language used in most workout videos is destructive: burn, blast, melt, etc. FKDP encourages viewers to move their bodies out of kindness, appreciation, and love. It’s not about changing your body, it’s about healing your relationship with your body.
2. Accessibility is key.
The FKDP dancers offer alternate movements for each step and there’s a complete, hour-long workout entirely in chairs!
3. Branlandingham incorporates fat icons into her stretches.
Ursula’s Tentacles and Divine’s Flamingo. Need I say more?
4. The music is poppin’.
I love that fat musicians are incorporated into these videos. You will stretch to Mary Lambert and sweat to Beth Ditto! There’s also a Spotify playlist of the songs used in the cardio video so you can take these badass anthems to any workout.
5. In a time crunch? No worries.
FKDP videos clock in at 15, 30, and 60 minutes, so you have options when it comes to working them into your schedule. You can also skip past any dances that don’t speak to you that day, which leaves even more flexibility.
6. The dancers are so diverse!
Branlandingham is a fat, queer, femme woman, but there are people of all sizes, genders, shapes, ethnicities, abilities and ages getting their grooves on. It is a delight to watch and gives me the warm fuzzies knowing that there was seemingly a conscious effort to get as much diversity as possible on screen. Representation matters, and almost everyone can see a bit of themselves in the dancers.
7. All you need is sneakers, space, and a device.
One of my favorite things about these workout videos is is that you can do them anywhere, anytime. You can even download them in the Vimeo app for offline viewing. No WiFi, no problem.
8. They’re a great start to your day.
Beyond movement, these videos are simply a confidence booster! I have never in my life felt so pumped up and in love with my body after a workout. The videos are sprinkled with self-affirmations and reminders of the wonderful things our bodies do for us.
9. You decide the difficulty.
The dance moves are easy to understand and can be adjusted to match your comfort level. You could do a high kick or a toe tap and it’s all gravy in FKDP. Branlandingham serves the moves “plain rice” and you, the viewer, get to add your own “special sauce,” which can be pretty fun in the middle of your living room. If you’re awkward, you’re cheered. If you get a drink, you get a high-five for self care.
To quote Branlandingham, “There’s no wrong way to do Fat Kid Dance Party.”
If you’re tired of practicing movement out of hate or if you’re ready to start healing from body oppression, invest in these videos. You can get all four videos for $42 and you’ll have them forever! You can do them alone in your undies or invite your BFFs over for a dance workout and homemade smoothies.
Any way you slice it, at the end of this workout, you’re going to feel better than when you started. And isn’t that what healing is all about?