+
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).



Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






Keep ReadingShow less

Joey Grundl, Milwaukee pizza guy.

Joey Grundl, a pizza delivery driver for a Domino's Pizza in Waldo, Wisconsin, is being hailed as a hero for noticing a kidnapped woman's subtle cry for help.

The delivery man was sent to a woman's house to deliver a pie when her ex-boyfriend, Dean Hoffman, opened the door. Grundl looked over his shoulder and saw a middle-aged woman with a black eye standing behind Hoffman. She appeared to be mouthing the words: "Call the police."

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Katerina Holmes|Canva

Mom in tears after another parent calls about daughter's lunch


People say having children is like having your heart walk around outside of your body. You send them off to school, practices or playdates and hope that the world treats them kindly because when they hurt, you hurt. Inevitably there will be times when your child's feelings are hurt so you do your best to prepare for that day.

But what prepares you for when the child you love so much winds up accidentally healing your inner child. A mom on TikTok, who goes by Soogia posted a video explaining a phone call she received from a parent in her daughter's classroom. The mom called to inform Soogia that their kids had been sharing lunch with each other.

Soogia wasn't prepared for what came next. The classmate's mother informed her that her son loves the food Soogia's daughter brings to school and wanted to learn how to cook it too.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Listen to this organ in Croatia that uses the sea to make hauntingly beautiful music

It's a 230-foot-long organ that turns the rhythm of the waves into actual music.


In 2005, a Croatian architect designed a 230-foot-long organ that turns the rhythm of the waves into actual music.

Nope, not nonsensical bellows or chaotic tones. Real, actual, music.

Keep ReadingShow less
Modern Families

A comic from The Oatmeal illustrates how we're missing the mark on happiness.

I do the things that are meaningful to me, even if they don't make me "happy."

By Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal. Used with permission.

How to Be Perfectly Happy


Matthew Inman is the Eisner Award-winning author of The Oatmeal. He's published six books, including New York Times Best-Sellers such as "How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You"and "The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances."He enjoys running marathons, writing comics, and eating cake.

You can read more of Matthew's comics here.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Sweeping UN study finds that 9 out of 10 people worldwide are biased against women

In other words, 9 out of 10 people worldwide—both men and women—are biased against women in vital areas that impact the world in major ways.

Photo by Joe Gardner on Unsplash

As the U.S. ramps into an all-too-familiar presidential election cycle where the only viable candidates left on the ballot are men, the UN announces a study that may—at least partially—explain why.

The Gender Social Norms Index released yesterday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offers a look at gender equality as measured by people's personal gender bias. The data, which was collected from 75 countries covering 81% of the world's population, found that 91% of men and 86% of women show at least one clear bias against women in the areas of politics, economics, education, and physical integrity.

In other words, 9 out of 10 people worldwide—both men and women—are biased against women in vital areas that impact the world in major ways. Splendid.

Keep ReadingShow less