Jazz recital practice

Namine started learning the dance for her jazz recital.

Ballet class

Namine learned a new move, the arabesque.

In dance, arabesque is a body position in which a dancer stands on one leg with the other leg turned out and extended behind the body, with both legs held straight.


Namine started to unstrap her walker seat. I got up from sitting against the wall and walked over to her, thinking maybe she wanted me to help her with this move. (It’s rare for her to want my help, but it does happen.) She usually calls me over, but I couldn’t think of any other reason she’d unstrap herself. If she just wanted to do the arm movements, she could do that from her walker seat.

I hadn’t yet crossed the room when Namine finished unstrapping herself, then kicked the walker seat behind her. It was then that I saw why she’d freed herself.

Holding onto both armrests, Namine bent over at the waist, sticking out one leg behind her. She stood up straight, then bent over again, sticking the other leg behind her.

Thanks to her having caudal regression syndrome, Namine’s legs and hips don’t have a large range of motion. But she hasn’t let that stop her from trying new things, pushing her body to its limits. Namine did arabesques to a count of ten, alternating legs each time.

Jazz class

The girls started out with stretches, then moved on to practicing dance moves. Namine did ask for my help, as she always does, with the run and leap. Other than that, she stayed in her walker and did as much as she could by herself.

The girls learned about the first fifteen second or so of their jazz recital song, “Girls Night Out” by Miley Cyrus. Most of the girls weren’t listening so well by the end of the class, but Namine paid close attention.

This being an older class, there are normally no parents allowed inside the classroom — the dance center makes the exception for us because Namine uses a walker. Normally, I sit on the sidelines during class and only go over to Namine when she needs me. But for learning their recital dance, Namine asked her teacher if I could be right next to her. She said yes, of course.

The song itself isn’t long — about three and a half minutes. But because Namine can’t stand and do the hand motions, she has to sit down for the hand stuff and stand back up for the leg movements. Calisthenics are tiring, more so than merely standing or walking (especially nearing the end of an already long day, and the repeat-repeat-repeat nature of practices), but Namine did not give up. Every time the teacher yelled “Again!,” she stood right back up, ready for more. Together, Namine and I figured out a good rhythm for the beginning of the song which allows her to participate in as many of the dance moves as possible.

One response

  1. jolenephilo Avatar

    I love Namine’s determination, your advocacy on her behalf, and the creativity you both instill into everything you do. Thanks for adding this to DifferentDream.com Tuesday special needs link share.

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