New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Curves With Moves

Latina dancer celebrates heritage and body positivity through dance.

After years of feeling underrepresented in auditions and dance teams as a plus-size Latina dancer, Jessie Diaz-Herrera turned to Instagram to share her talent. After the warm online responses from over 17,000 followers on her account @curveswithmoves, Diaz-Herrera started teaching body-positive dance classes in 2017. 

In the two-and-a-half-hour sessions, she creates a safe space for all-level dancers by emphasizing that “it’s not about the moves, but about how you feel.” Many of her students have gone through traumatic experiences and use Diaz-Herrera’s dance classes as emotional therapy. 

On top of being body-positive spaces, Diaz-Herrera’s classes also have a cultural component. Growing up in a Dominican and Puerto Rican home, dancing was a central part of the Diaz-Herrera family reunions. Now, Diaz-Herrera shows pride for her heritage by presenting a fusion of traditional and modern Latin dances in her classes.

Jessie Diaz-Herrera, a professional body-positive dancer from the Bronx, teaches a class celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

 
A banner for Diaz-Herrera’s dance classes at the entrance of the Midtown dance studio she shares with her friend, who also teaches a class.
Diaz-Herrera holds one of the motivational cards by Louise Hay that she gives out at the beginning of her classes. The cards have encouraging messages about pursuing your dreams and accepting yourself and often make her students smile.

Jessie and returning students Keyiona Roulhac (left) and Michelle Colon (center) give their final performance of the choreography they learned to the song “China” by Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA

Listen to “China”

Email Alejandra at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
ALEJANDRA AREVALO, Deputy Under the Arch Editor
Alejandra is a CAS junior double-majoring in Journalism and Sociology with a minor in Integrated Digital Media. She is a trained visual artist in several media, including sculpture and embroidery, but photography is her favorite. She was born and raised in Lima, Peru but now spends her days between college in New York, home in L.A. and traveling around the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram @travel.ale.

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