Dancing Away From Illness And Onto The Stage
The hall lights dim…..a hush comes over the audience … the command "places everyone" is given… there is a palpable stillness in the air as the first notes of the opening piece float out of the speakers and hover above the stage…. the curtain rises with a whir … the lights come up… its time …
These are the moments a performer lives for. The hours of solitary sweat and toil practicing their craft in sparse, small rooms, are the dues required for the joy of putting their skill and craft out there for an audience hungering for something special and moving.
The members of a unique dance company feel this lure more passionately than most others, perhaps because this labor of love and the joy and release that comes with performing was taken away from them … some through the slow decline of chronic disease… others in the wink of an eye from a sudden, tragic event.
Despite whatever happened to them, there is still a place for these artists where their powerful spirits can shine despite their failing physiques. Thanks to Choreographer Bailey Anne Vincent and her dance troupe, Company360, a sister company has been formed called "Comebacks", made up of these beautiful artists and creators navigating a life of desire and chronic realities.
One of these dancers is Leila Santana, a 16-year-old, who has cystic fibrosis. She stumbled upon Company360's master class on a whim and continued to show up as she felt heard and seen by Bailey, a fellow Cystic Fibrosis sufferer. Once known as "Leila The Swimmer" for her competitive achievements in the pool, she had become reduced to "Leila The Sick Girl" as she struggled with her condition. "Being able to do this helps with the physical and mental repercussions of not being able to do what I loved," she said proudly.
Lindsey Floryance came all the way from Iowa to be a part of the Comebacks troupe. She is a classically trained dancer who once travelled around the country to perform in dance competitions but had to give it up due to her chronic illness. "Giving that piece of myself up was very hard. I kind of lost a huge sense of identity…I didn't know who I really was because dance was who I was throughout my childhood," she admitted. "I haven't danced in about 7 years but stepping foot in a studio yesterday felt like the biggest relief. There is not really words to express how grateful I was to be able to have the opportunity to do what I love again."
Watch this emotional episode as Bailey guides this group of dancers who have held onto their dreams through so much adversity and finally get their chance to triumphantly return to the stage.
Learn more about the Comebacks troupe at: https://www.companythreesixty.com/comebacks.html
Learn about Cystic Fibrosis at: https://www.cff.org/What-is-CF/About-Cystic-Fibrosis/
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