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I’m a survivorina, so I’m starting hope.dance

Survivorina is a hashtag I discovered on Instagram. Dancers who are dancing despite what life has done to their bodies. When I found them, I found a tribe. It made ballet feel even more right.

I’ve mentioned a few times that ballet saved my life. That learning how to move again gave me freedom from my pain and the confidence to get stronger and continue fighting for a better quality of life. Now,  I want to help others with pain disorders have that chance.

I had seen mentions of dance programs for Parkinson’s disease and adaptive dance programs for Autism. Then, on World Ballet Day, I caught a segment on the Ballet for Parkinson’s program from the English National Ballet. A seed was planted.

As I started talking to people about this idea, it started to become real. Friends and family started sending me other Youtube videos of ballet companies doing workshops or classes for children and adults with disabilities. Others had done it, I was determined to make it happen for people like me. People who might be afraid to walk into a dance class and tell the teacher that they can’t jump or that their body doesn’t move quite the same way others do.


The organization

I want others to experience the joy of dance. I want to create classes that someone suffering from chronic pain can walk into and still feel like they are learning ballet or tap. I want to help teachers know how to teach to those limitations.

Right now, I have a dream, a name and a mission statement.

Hope.dance aspires to create dance programs rooted in classical dance forms that allow sufferers of chronic pain to develop confidence and strength while creating escape from the realities of constant pain. These dance classes give participants a chance to be expressive and creative and instill a sense of freedom that participants may no longer find in their daily lives due to their conditions.

Moving forward, I have to find instructors, partners and students. In the mean time, you can support the organization by buying a shirt, contributing via GoFundMe, liking it on Facebook or signing up for the newsletter.

from the floor of wordcamp

I’m sitting on the floor of the lobby of University Center, a dorm for the plethora of universities in this part of downtown Chicago. It’s been a few years since I have found myself plopped down with a crowd of people, socializing, typing and resting.

This morning as I was checking in at WordCamp, I texted my friend and frequent conference buddy Erica about this magical place I found myself. I texted her this morning about how great it was to be at a conference where no one had any fucks to give about appearances.

Let me be clear, it isn’t that I showed up to a conference of slobs. They were here, too. But it was the fact that no one cared what I was wearing. The style of my hair didn’t have to be premeditated. I didn’t have to agonize over how I should do my makeup.

I got to show up and be me. Just nerdy me. With a top knot and leggings and orange canvas gym shoes. I winged my eyeliner because I could, not because I had legions of people to impress. Or worse, compare myself to.

Back to the floor. I’ve met people I never would have met if I was worried about what people were thinking about my outfit. I’m not worried what people will think about my cane if I end up needing it. I’ve had several offers of people to help me hack my cyborg parts.

I’ve talked about tattoos and PHP. I’ve talked about careers and families. I’ve talked about my blogs and other people’s podcasts. Sitting on the floor. Charging our phones. Being ourselves.