+
upworthy
Identity

Disney's new heroine is a larger-than-average ballerina dancing her way to body positivity

Bianca breaks through her own body image barriers in the short film 'Reflect.'

disney ballet short film body image
Tetiana Nekrasova/Canva

Disney's "Reflect" shares the story of a ballerina who learns to see herself clearly.

Disney is known for making big statements with small films, and one of the newest shorts from Disney Animation Studios says a whole lot in just 2 1/2 minutes.

The latest episode in Disney's Short Circuit Experimental Films series, "Reflect," takes on the topic of body image and body positivity through the eyes of a plus-size ballerina named Bianca. The journey she takes in the film is familiar to many, and different people may see themselves in each stage of it. (Spoiler alerts incoming.)

The short opens with Bianca dancing alone in a ballet studio, joyfully practicing her moves with her head held high and her face beaming. But as soon as the other students and the instructor enter the room, Bianca wilts, becoming self-conscious and unsure of herself. She approaches the mirror with the other girls, but she keeps her head down and avoids looking at her reflection.


Bianca doesn't say a word throughout the entire film. In fact, the only words spoken in the entire short are the ballet instructor naming the dance moves for the girls to practice and her saying to Bianca, "Tight tummy, long neck," as she walks by her.

When Bianca finally looks at her reflection, she places her hand on her stomach and suddenly everything goes dark. The mirror, now black before her, starts to crack and break into shards, then morph into a multilegged creature hovering ominously over her. She tries to escape by turning away and covering her eyes.

When she opens her eyes, all she can see is darkness and her own reflection in hundreds of mirrors that surround her. Those, too, start to crack and break apart. Everywhere she turns, she sees more and more of her own reflection in the broken pieces of glass.

Finally, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She points her toe and the music shifts. As she starts to dance, twirling in a beautiful pirouette, the mirror shards in front of her light up and then shatter into nothingness. She continues to dance with greater and greater confidence, realizing she has control of the mirrors and can shatter them at will.

Once that realization dawns on her, she leaps through the broken shards and lands back in the ballet studio with the other students. Practicing a plié at the barre, she smiles at her own reflection, no longer afraid to look in the mirror.

The beauty in the message of this film is that Bianca finds body positivity in using her body for what she loves. In the end, it's not what her body looks like, but what it can do that shapes how she feels about it.

Director Hillary Bradfield, who also worked on Disney's "Encanto" and "Frozen II," shared commentary at the beginning of the episode.

"I feel like I’m a very body-positive person in principle," she said. "But when it’s on a personal level, it’s a lot harder to be body positive…When people watch the short, I hope they can feel more positively about themselves and how they look and feel OK about the tough parts of the journey."

People's reactions to the film have been largely positive, with some people sharing their own struggles with societal reactions to the size of their bodies.

Others have shared that, while having a plus-size lead character is needed representation, they wished it could be in a story that's not focused on her body.

But body image is something many people struggle with, even if they don't live in a larger body, so the appeal of the story is more universal than it may first appear. It's also inspiring, no matter who you are, to see a character go through a transformative experience and come out triumphant on the other side.

As Bradfield said, "Maybe sometimes you go to the dark place to get to the good place, and that just makes the good place that much more beautiful."

Indeed it does. Watch "Reflect" on Disney+ (Episode 6 in Season 2 of Short Circuit Experimental Films).


Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Should we wear shoes in the house? Experts weigh in and turns out we should stop immediately.

It's a common practice in the west that may be grosser than we realize.

Experts seem to agree that shoes shouldn't be worn inside

Growing up nearly everyone knew of one house that didn't allow people to wear shoes inside. It didn't matter if you accidentally wore your socks with the hole in them, there were no exceptions–shoes off. For many folks it was just seen as a quirk for that particular family and there wasn't much thought given into why they were adamant about enforcing the rule.

But it turns out that wearing shoes inside is more of a western culture thing than a global one, which makes Americans a minority in keeping outside shoes on while inside the house. It would seem that other countries may have had a bit more of an understanding on why it's a bad idea to wear shoes inside.

Common sense tells us that wearing shoes inside means you'll be sweeping and mopping more often than you'd like. Of course you track in dirt but there are apparently hundreds of bacteria and fungi that you're tracking in that can cause your family to get sick.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Man tries to correct a female golfer's swing, having no idea she's actually a pro

“My hope is that he comes across this video and it keeps him up at night."

Representative Image from Canva

A man tried to tell a pro golfer she was swing too slow.

We’re all probably familiar with the term “mansplaining,” when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending or patronizing way. Often, this comes in the form of a man explaining a subject to a woman that she already knows on an expert level. The female neuroscientist who was told by a man that she should read a research paper she actually wrote comes to mind.

Recently the next-level mansplaining was caught in the wild. Well, at a golf driving range anyway.

Georgia Ball, a professional golfer and coach who’s racked up over 3 million likes on TikTok for all her tips and tricks of the sport, was minding her own business while practicing a swing change.

It takes all of two seconds on Google to see that when it comes to incorporating a swing change, golfers need to swing slower, at 50-75% their normal speed…which is what Ball was doing.

And this is what prompted some man to insert his “advice.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Photos by Daniela on Unsplash (left) and Rens D on Unsplash (right)

Peeling garlic is notoriously challenging.

If you ever cook with fresh garlic, you know what a challenge it can be to remove the cloves from the skin cleanly, especially if you're starting with a full head.

There are various methods people use to peel garlic, with varying levels of success. Doing it by hand works, but will leave you with garlic-smelling fingertips for the better part of a day. Whacking the head on the counter helps separate the cloves from each other, but doesn't help much with removing the skin.

Some people swear by vigorously shaking the skinned cloves around in a covered bowl or jarred lid, which can be surprisingly effective. Some smash the clove with the flat side of a knife to loosen it and then pull it off. Others utilize a rubber roller to de-skin the cloves.

But none of these methods come close to the satisfaction of watching someone perfectly peeling an entire head of garlic with a pair of tongs.

Keep ReadingShow less
Modern Families

‘Hard pill to swallow’: Mom shares why some adult children don’t talk to their parents

"How your kids treat you when they are no longer in need of food and shelter, is a direct reflection of how you made them feel when they needed you to survive."

Parent and child deal with the pain of estrangement.

Even though humans are biologically hard-wired to form strong attachments to our parents, in many cases, these relationships become estranged as the children age. A recent poll found that nearly 1 in 4 adults are estranged from their families.

Six percent are estranged from their mothers and 26% have no contact with their fathers. It’s believed that these days, more children are comfortable distancing themselves from their parents because it’s good for their mental health.

“I think it relates to this new desire to have healthy relationships,” Rin Reczek, a sociology professor at the Ohio State University, said, according to The Hill. “There might be some cultural shifts around people being allowed to choose who is in your family. And that can include not choosing to have the person who raised you be in your family.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Loretta Lynn's granddaughter wows 'American Idol' judges with raw original song

Emmy Russell's original song "Skinny," featuring lyrics about body image and eating disorders, nearly brought everyone to tears.

America Idol/Youtube, Promotional image of Loretta Lynn/Wikipedia

Emmy Russell (left) and her grandmother Loretta Lynn (right)

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of country music icon Loretta Lynn, proved that she was an artist in her own right during a recent episode of “American Idol.”

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the show's Feb. 25 episode, during which she opened up about wanting to not live in her grandmother’s shadow.

"She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just Grandma," she said, adding "I think I am a little timid, and I think it is because I want to own my voice. That's why I want to challenge myself and come out here."

Keep ReadingShow less