27/11/2012 08:27 GMT | Updated 13/03/2013 12:07 GMT

Too Big To Dance? Weighty Ballerinas Break Body Image Stereotypes On Stage (VIDEO)

In the world of ballet, female dancers have long been under pressure to maintain a tiny physique. But today HuffPost UK Lifestyle were reminded that tutus aren't only available in size zero.

Eight-strong, Cuban dance troupe 'Danza Voluminosa' weigh a combined total of more than 1,600lbs (over 200lbs per person).

A recent video report by AP (featured above) reveals more about the plus-size group's motivations:

"The most important thing is that it elevates the self-esteem of the overweight," founder Juan Miguel Mas explains. "It helps them to not be sedentary and get out and move, live, work, investigate and love their bodies, too."

Danza Voluminosa

The group, founded in 1996, have proved a hit in Cuba and even been the subject of 2004 film "Defying Gravity".

"What we are trying to do is find harmony," Juan adds. "We want to find the fulfilment of being human."

In an industry where bodies are scrutinised for the tiniest flaw, HuffPost UK Lifestyle finds their attitude to body image refreshing.

Just this year, Italian ballet dancer Mariafrancesca Garritano was sacked from La Scala after claiming that the dance company pressured dancers to lose weight.