Pretty BIG Movement is doing pretty BIG things, for starters. What began as an idea has since revolutionized the idea of what a typical dancer looks or acts like. From Beyoncé to America’s Got Talent and beyond, founder Akira Armstrong let’s us into the world of PBM.
Has dance always been a part of your life? How did you first get into it?
I’ve been dancing since I was 8, so dance has really always been in my life. I got into dance initially when I saw the movie School Daze directed by Spike Lee.
What was your experience dancing for Beyoncé like?
Getting to dance with Beyoncé was life-fulfilling and an experience that has helped cultivate my dance career. In general, working with so many noted choreographers and dancers allows me to be a more versatile dancer and performer.
How did Pretty BIG Movement get started? What would you say was the company’s “breakout” moment?
Pretty BIG started in 2008 with just an idea. I wanted to find women who were well-versed in dance and who were also plus-size. It wasn’t until PBM was noticed by TV executives from America’s Got Talent that it really took off. Being one of season 10’s highlighted performances was PBM’s introduction to the world.
What is the mission behind Pretty BIG?
The mission behind PBM is to uplift, empower, and inspire women, men, and children to believe in themselves. We believe that if we are able to reinforce empowerment through the art of dance, anything is possible.
What’s your advice to women who struggle with body image, confidence, and self-doubt?
My advice to women is to always remember who you are and to find your why. Don’t let people who make you feel less confident dictate your journey.
How did you recruit women to join Pretty BIG Movement? Did you face obstacles getting this company off the ground?
I recruited the women in PBM through childhood friendships, auditions, and through mutual dance relationships. In the beginning, there were some obstacles trying to get PBM off the ground, but with drive, determination, and mentoring, I was able to make it the success it is today.
What sort of choreography do you do? Is there a certain performance that stands out as particularly memorable for you and the company?
I do a variety of choreography such as tap, modern, ballet, hip-hop, West African, jazz, and street jazz. One particular highlight performance that sticks out to me was our performance in Rome, Italy, on the famous television show Amici.
How has Pretty BIG grown since the success its seen on social media?
PBM has grown tremendously over the past 3 years. We have traveled to so many countries and performed inspiring, uplifting, and empowering performances on an international scale.
Aside from Pretty BIG Movement, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy going to the movies, spending time with my loved ones, relaxing at home, traveling, and shopping.
What does the future of Pretty BIG Movement look like? Any upcoming plans or projects?
PBM’s future looks very bright. We’re working on several projects as well a potential Pretty BIG Movement conference.
For more info visit prettybigmovement.com.