Because when’s the last time you saw a dancer who uses a wheelchair on TV?
When Natasha isn’t on stage or dancing at her local studio, you’ll often find her watching shows like So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance on TV. But while she’s a fan of the choreographed routines and glitz and glam, the 21-year-old admits something is missing.
“If I were to turn on the TV and see a contestant in a wheelchair, I’d be amazed,” says Natasha.
As excited as Natasha would be to see more dancers with disabilities, she also believes its long past time for this kind of representation.
Five years ago, Natasha was driving to a campsite with friends when they were involved in a car accident. She experienced a traumatic brain injury, resulting in her needing to use a wheelchair.
“Now, people sometimes say: ‘How is she a dancer if she’s in a wheelchair?’ But dancing is just moving your body to music in any way that you want,” she says.
Throughout her recovery at Holland Bloorview, Natasha used music therapy as a way to express herself creatively. The experience empowered her to get back on the dance floor.
“When my studio first started inclusive dance classes, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it because I didn’t how I was going to be able to dance in a wheelchair,” recalls Natasha. “But then I took the class— and here I am.”
Not only is Natasha a spirited dancer, having won a competition, she also recently taught a ballet class for preschoolers.
“She just glows on stage,” says Natasha’s mom, Judy. “We wish there could be more representation and more of what people with disabilities can do and how they can express themselves.”