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Growing Up Powerful: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Asha and Jestine are getting ready for a big school dance. At least, that was the plan, until Jestine realizes that she loves how she feels when she’s dancing, but not how she looks.

This podcast is a production of Rebel Girls. This episode was created in collaboration with Nike, and is based on the Body Confident Sport program.

This episode was narrated by Margaret Ying Drake as Asha, Imani Parks as Jestine, and Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs as herself. It was produced and directed by Deborah Goldstein, with Joy Smith and Haley Dapkus. Sound design and mixing by Mumble Media. It was written and edited by Abby Sher. Additional consulting by Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs. Our executive producers are Jes Wolfe and Joy Smith. Original theme music was composed and performed by Elettra Bargiacchi. A special thanks to the whole Rebel Girls team, who make this podcast possible! Until next time, staaaay rebel!

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[upbeat dance music playing underneath]

ASHA: Welcome to Growing up Powerful with Rebel Girls!

JESTINE: I’m Jestine.

ASHA: And I’m Asha. And we’re two best friends trying to figure out this thing called life.

JESTINE: At the same time that we try to figure out how to finish getting these decorations up in the school gymnasium. Do you have any more tape?

ASHA: Forget the tape, girl. This place looks awesome. Ooh! I love this song! Turn it up!

[the music gets louder and we hear the happy sounds of ASHA and JESTINE “dancing”]

ASHA: Woo hoo!


JESTINE: Oh yeah! Keep it going!

ASHA: You got it!

[The SONG ends. MUSIC gets softer.]

ASHA: Phew! Nice job, us! Excuse me, who’s the best decorating committee ever?

JESTINE: Um…we are!

ASHA: Now all we need is for people to show up!

JESTINE: Yeah…that’s the part I’m not as excited about.

ASHA: What are you talking about? The gym looks amazing. We have a brilliant DJ coming…

JESTINE: Yeah, it’s not that. It’s just…

ASHA: What? What is it?

JESTINE: Okay, you promise not to laugh?

ASHA: I’ll try…

JESTINE: I’m just…okay, I love dancing when I’m all alone or it’s just the two of us.

ASHA: Okay. so, what’s the problem?

JESTINE: It’s like, as soon as there are other people around, I get….


DR. PD: Oh hello girls. This looks fantastic!

ASHA: Hey, Dr. Diedrichs. You like?

DR. PD: I love! So many bright colors and stars.

ASHA: Yeah, we went with an outer space disco theme.

DR. PD: Brilliant.

ASHA: Thank you.

DR. PD: So, are you excited for the dance?

ASHA: Very.

JESTINE: Sure…I mean, yeah.

DR. PD: Well, that was not very convincing.

ASHA: Actually, I bet you’d understand what Jestine was just saying better than I do. (to Jestine) Is that okay that I said that?

JESTINE: Sure, whatever.

DR. PD: What’s going on, Jestine?

JESTINE: I dunno. I was just saying …so, I love dancing, right? Like, I’ll turn on a song at home and just jam out. I took a bunch of dance classes when I was little, and I loved it. As long as I was in the back and not right near a mirror.

DR. PD: Okay…

JESTINE: But, dancing in front of people, like at a school dance, just feels…I dunno. Sweaty. And kinda embarrassing.

ASHA: Ha! Okay, the sweaty part I totally agree with.

DR. PD: This is a very smart distinction you’re making, Jestine. Can I ask you a question?


DR. PD: What is it about dance class or jamming out on your own that you enjoy the most?

JESTINE: Um…I guess just getting to move with the music, you know? Like, I’m not thinking about anything else except for the rhythm and the notes, and moving with them.

DR. PD: Aha! So it’s more about how you feel, am I right?

JESTINE: Yeah! I love feeling like I’m part of the music. Does that make sense?

DR. PD: Very much so.

ASHA: So then, let’s just ask the DJ to play our favorite songs and we can rock out right here!

JESTINE: See, that feels totally different to me. Like, everybody’s gonna be checking out each other’s outfits or wondering who’s gonna dance with who…It’s gonna be all loud and filled with people…and I feel like I just look stupid out there.

DR. PD: Interesting…

ASHA: Can I just make one thing clear? Jestine is such a good dancer. Like, when she’s really feeling the music, she’s awesome.

DR. PD: I think that’s the key right there.

ASHA: What is?

DR. PD: When we focus on what we feel and what our bodies can do, we have so much more fun.

ASHA: Ohhhh.

DR. PD: The minute we get distracted by thinking about what we look like or maybe who’s watching us…that’s when we lose our connection to our bodies and what we’re experiencing and feeling. And often, that’s when we stop having fun.

ASHA: Okay now that makes sense.

JESTINE: Yeah. I get that.

ASHA: But how can we focus on what it feels like instead of what we look like?

JESTINE: Yeah. Especially in a sweaty gymnasium.

Dr. PD: That’s a great question.

If you notice yourself having negative thoughts about the way you look, stop for a moment and try to name the feelings you’re experiencing in your mind and body. Maybe it’s sadness, maybe it’s boredom, maybe it’s loneliness. Likewise, if you notice you’re feeling good, take time to recognise and appreciate that.

ASHA: That’s awesome.

JESTINE: Okay, I think I’m getting it. But, what do you do if you’re stuck in your head and you can’t enjoy the feel of an activity?


Think about taking a break and doing something that makes you feel calm or talk to a friend and let them know how you’re feeling.

ASHA: Okay. Can I ask another question?

DR. PD: Of course!

ASHA: You used the word “appreciate” a lot. How do you appreciate your body?


I like to get into the habit of taking moments in the day to thank my body for what it allows me to do. Like my arms allow me to hug my friends, my tastebuds allow me to enjoy delicious food, my mind lets me come up with lots of new ideas on how to change the world, and my skin lets me feel soft cozy blankets, the warmth of sunshine on my face and I could go on! Try to build in moments of your day where you thank your body for what it does for you.

ASHA: Aaaah. Okay. Thank you, Ears, for listening to Dr. Diedrichs.

JESTINE: Yes. Thank you, Arms for putting up all these decorations and Mouth, for speaking my mind.

ASHA: Thank you Body for feeling the rhythm and needing to mooooove.


[back to fun ambient disco tunes underneath…this time there are clearly other people dancing with A&J]

ASHA: What d’ya think? Should we keep dancing?


ASHA: Okay!

JESTINE: Let’s see those moves!

ASHA: You mean, let’s feel those moves, right?

JESTINE: Yes, please.

ASHA: And rebels, we hope you feel inspired to make your own dance party.

JESTINE: Or go running. Kick a ball. Do some cartwheels. Whether it’s in a sweaty gym or on your own. Just feel that energy inside and let it —

ASHA: Mooooove you!

JESTINE: Yeah. Turn it up, find your groove, and —

ASHA: Staaaaay rebel!