“If one thing occurred to you at the moment and also you couldn’t dance tomorrow, how would you dance proper now?”
I used to be posing this query to a bunch of some 80 dancers auditioning for my firm, The Victory Dance Venture.
The air within the room acquired tense. There was nervous fidgeting.
To me, this wasn’t merely a hypothetical query. My function as choreographer and director of The Victory Dance Venture and CEO at Amy Jordan Speaks was not deliberate. My dream as a lady and younger grownup was to bounce professionally. I skilled tirelessly in highschool, moved to New York Metropolis, then Los Angeles in pursuit of my dream.
What I didn’t understand then was that my lifelong coaching as a dancer was making ready me with instruments to later overcome life-and-death obstacles as I constructed a brand new dream.
At 21, it appeared like my efficiency profession was ending prematurely. Visible issues from Sort 1 diabetes had value me a lot of my sight, and I grew to become legally blind. Unknowingly, this was my first foray into remodeling trauma into triumph, the beginning of my first reinvention. I write concerning the idea of acceptance in my guide, Dance As a result of You Can. We don’t have to love the circumstances that will happen in life, however we do have a selection in how we reply.
My coronary heart and soul have been nonetheless that of a dancer. It took me a very long time to get again to class and discover a new strategy to work round my visible impairment.
On Might 1, 2009, issues took a dramatic flip. Whereas crossing the road in New York Metropolis, I used to be hit and run over by an specific bus that pinned me beneath a tire. I had no feeling in my proper facet, and my first thought was, Oh no, there’s no leg, and that I might by no means dance once more. My second thought: If I survived the night time there could be a “victory dance.” I vowed that if I lived, I might dance once more.
Although I used to be graced with surviving, my proper leg was practically amputated. Twenty surgical procedures later, my leg has been actually rebuilt. Throughout the many months I spent in a burn intensive care unit, my bodily therapist informed me time and again that, because of my coaching as a dancer, I used to be more likely to have a optimistic end result and stroll once more.
Dance coaching had given me an inherent self-discipline and willpower to push by means of the challenges and the ache to attain the purpose of strolling once more.
After I was within the ICU, I might get into bother because of my flexibility. I didn’t wish to bend my knee as a result of it damage an excessive amount of, so I bent over my straight leg, reaching my toes to placed on my socks. My rehab workforce merely rolled their eyes, saying, “Dancers.”
The rehabilitation was grueling, however my single focus was to maneuver once more. I actually took one step at a time. Whereas studying to stroll once more, I handled it like choreography and counted to eight. 1, 2: push walker; 3, 4: transfer proper foot; 5, 6: transfer left; 7, 8: stand straight. I continued this time and again till I might stroll down the corridor utilizing my walker with out help.
5 years after the accident, I lived true to the vow I’d made whereas pinned beneath the bus tire. The Victory Dance Venture premiered on Might 31, 2014. Its mission: to make the not possible attainable with the facility of motion. Although I wasn’t performing but, I used to be discovering a brand new voice as a director, producer and choreographer.
In 2017, I did my precise “victory dance,” performing with the corporate for its third-year gala. The night additionally honored Broadway legend Chita Rivera and was a tribute to my docs and medical employees for saving my life and rebuilding my physique.
My victory efficiency, together with auditions, rehearsals and testimonials, was chronicled on movie and have become Amy’s Victory Dance, a multi-award-winning documentary characteristic movie directed by Brian Thomas, himself a dancer and former choreographer for Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Liza Minnelli and a bunch of leisure icons.
At present, my essence and spirit as a dancer proceed to maintain my life transferring. With every new impediment, I used to be in a position to put my dance coaching to work to assist create a brand new pathway.
Little did I do know that the accident and rebuilding my physique would additionally put together me for all times in a pandemic. When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, each artist I do know had their lives and livelihoods worn out straight away. Typically our desires get derailed, and we’re confronted with the duty of reinventing ourselves as artists and folks. The query then turns into: Will we create a brand new pathway or concentrate on what was misplaced?
This was a fierce problem, however the various was to surrender or grow to be a sufferer of the current circumstances. If I had realized something from having misplaced most of my imaginative and prescient and mobility, it was that there’s life after trauma. I developed the basic braveness to satisfy the problem of the second and help others to do the identical.
Since Amy’s Victory Dance premiered in 2017, it has amassed 39 nominations, awards and official alternatives from movie festivals throughout the globe. Now obtainable for preorder on Apple TV/iTunes forward of its Might 13 digital launch (on further platforms, together with Google Play and Vudu), the movie represents hope, potentialities and the facility of the human situation. This message is timelier now than even a number of months in the past. As soon as once more, the facility of dance represents a never-give-up spirit, it doesn’t matter what is occurring in our exterior atmosphere.
Frankly, if I used to be not a dancer, I don’t assume I might have survived the bus accident and the challenges that adopted. Whereas the methods through which I dance and unfold dance have modified, one factor stays clear: We must always dance as a result of we are able to.