Dance is a stunning and meaningful expression of a prism of human emotions. The best dancers use their bodies to illustrate all of the beauty of the human form, as well as the human spirit. These days, disabled dancers are moving past their physical challenges and inspiring audiences all over the globe.
By continuing to dance, despite the obstacles that they face, disabled dancers offer truly resonant performances that are moving, joyous and sometimes very poignant.
To help you learn more about disabled dancers and their wonderful contributions to the world of dance, we’ve spotlighted a few exceptional dancers, all of whom use their own courage, determination and artistry, in order to give their audiences a taste of “poetry in motion”.
GEORGES EXANTUS IS A TRUE INSPIRATION
Watch the amazing recovery of George, and the story of the rehabilitation project that helps people in Haiti regain their lives.
Professional dancer George Exantus lost his right leg when an earthquake struck in his home town of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Grateful simply to be alive, he believed for a time that his career as a dancer was over forever; however, as time passed, his indomitable spirit began to burn brightly, and his passion for movement soon inspired him to move forward, against all odds.
These days, Exantus brushes off the stigma of disability, by proving to others that he is a true artist who is deserving of the greatest respect. Dancing with a prosthetic leg allows him to express his soul on stage. In Haiti, a country where the disabled are often overlooked and disenfranchised, Georges Exantus proves that talent, beauty and disability walk hand in hand.
Appreciating the talent of a dancer such as Georges Exantus requires no special awareness or compassion. While many do feel great compassion for Exantus and all that he has been through, his talent speaks for itself. Audiences who watch Exantus simply sit back and let the loveliness of his performances wash over them. In this way, he transcends disability each time that he steps onto the stage.
DAVID TOOLE PUSHES THE ENVELOPE TO DAZZLE HIS AUDIENCES
Clips from the movie “The Cost of Living” (2004) by the dance company DV8 Physical Theatre
Born without legs, David Toole may have seemed to be an unlikely choice for a career in the dance world. However, as this British performer has proved over and over again, drive and determination trump physical challenges.
Today, this renowned artist earns a living by dazzling audiences with his special brand of talent. Toole received rave reviews for his performance at the London 2012 Festival. These days, David is continuing to push the envelope, by collaborating with a South African dance company called Remix. Toole and Remix recently performed at the International Dance Festival in Birmingham, England.
The fact that well-known dance troupes are taking chances and hiring disabled dancers, such as Toole, represents real progress. After all, there is beauty in diversity. By including dancers who have physical challenges in their dance troupes, these dance companies send a message that everyone is equal. And that is a beautiful and inspirational thing.
JEAN SOK STOLE THE SPOTLIGHT AT THE 2012 BILLBOARD AWARDS
If you believe in your dream, nothing can stop you…
When Cee Lo Green hired one-legged break dancer, Jean Sok, to dance during Green’s own Billboard Awards performance, he may not have realized that Sok’s stunning moves would take all focus off of himself. However, it’s safe to say that Cee Lo Green was also spellbound by the talent and focus of this young, male dancer. It’s commendable that Cee Lo Green recognized and honored the special talent of this singular performer.
Sok routinely works with the celebrated Cirque du Soleil circus troupe, which is world-renowned for incredible creativity, fantastical costumes and stunning physical feats. Sok’s ability to hold audiences in his thrall make him an exceptional example of a very successful disabled dancer who succeeds due to talent alone.
Clearly, there is room for all in the world of dance, as long as the passion and talent are there. Old notions about how dancers should look are now obsolete in many circles of the dance world. In the dawn of this new dance era, anything is possible…
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
If you love to dance, but suffer from a disability, you must believe that anything is possible. By learning to dance in your own way, you will open up so many doors. These days, the world is more inclusive, and much more understanding. In the past, it may have been difficult or impossible to get hired in a troupe of non-disabled dancers. However, thankfully, times have changed, and these changes will make it possible to enjoy success beyond your wildest dreams.
Let the success of Georges Exantus, David Toole and Jean Sok inspire you daily. By following their performances, learning more about their lives and dreams, and discovering your own potential as a dancer, you will be able to mimic their success in your own life. Dance is about being an artist. It’s about communicating emotions through movement.