As part of our 'Perfect for Me' campaign, we are celebrating dance and exploring the joy of movement with Nike ambassador and founder of the UK's first plus-size dance class 'The Curve Catwalk', Trina Nicole. She was shortlisted as 'Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2021' by Great British Entrepreneur Awards and selected as 'One to Watch' by Forbes. Her performance credits include Nao, Lizzo, and even Beyonce.
In this blog, Trina shares her experience to finding body compassion and tips on how you can use your body to find more joy.
Trina shares her story about the challenges she faced with body image issues while growing up and discusses why she began 'The Curve Catwalk', a size-inclusive dance class that encourages people to focus on how they feel, as opposed to how they look.
As a consequence of unwanted attention towards her changing body and a lack of representation in the media, Trina stopped all forms of sport, including dance.
Inspired by the joy of Notting Hill Carnival, Trina was reunited with her love for dance.
'I look around me and all I see are smiling faces, people dancing in the street to a banging beat. All different shapes, sizes, and skin tones and from all walks of life. The unity and coming together of strangers happily embracing one another, laughing and dancing is something we don’t get to see very often and so it holds a very special place in my heart.'
When Trina began joining classes again, she was left feeling very unwelcome, but instead of giving up, she decided to use that energy to create change. And there began 'The Curve Catwalk', a space for people to feel welcomed and safe with no judgment to share those joyful carnival experiences on a weekly basis.
Watching ourselves dance or workout can be a daunting idea. Trina challenges us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and embrace the way we look when we move by using the mirrors in a dance class or filming yourself to see how your body moves and responds to sound.
'For me movement is a freedom of expression, it’s a release and an opportunity to connect with my body. It allows me to take up space, literally whilst being able to assert myself through my physical presence. Dance really helps me tune into my emotions, it’s like a secret language between my mind, body and soul.'
'In my dance practice, I focus on freestyle and social dance styles. Since I was young, I never enjoyed people telling me how I should move my body, so traditional dance styles that involved conditioning and intense training, such as ballet, tap, or jazz just weren’t for me. I’ve always been drawn to the fun side of dance, so it’s no surprise that I seek dance styles and movement practice that brings me joy, aka joyful movement,'
Movement that brings joy will look and feel different for everybody, so it’s important for people to individually find their form of movement that feels good for their own body. Not only will it transform your relationship with exercise, but by focusing on pleasure, you’re more likely to feel confident in yourself and will want to move your body more regularly.'
'Our conversation has been quite heavy on dance, but it’s also important for me to highlight that joyful movement comes in all forms. It may be going for a bike ride, swimming or even taking a martial arts class. The wonderful thing about these examples is that they all require us to let go of perfection. Dancing really taught me to embrace my mistakes and have more compassion for myself, whilst learning something new. Learning a new skill forces you to question your inner critic. You’re going to make mistakes but it’s all part of the process for any form of achievement.'
Trina gives her tips for those new to dance and what you can do to encourage more joyful movement.
'Embrace mindfulness. Be aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations in the moment. Remember joy and feeling good in your body is the goal. So anything that doesn’t align with that is probably not right for you, move on, but take your time. You don’t have to go from not exercising at all to doing it daily if that doesn’t suit your lifestyle. Find your own flow and think of ways you can make it easier on yourself.'