~ COURAGE DOESN’T MEAN YOU DON’T GET AFRAID. COURAGE MEANS YOU DON’T LET FEAR STOP YOU. ~
- Bethany Hamilton
The critics were raving.
Following their debut performance, Emma and her dance crew shot to fame overnight. This was more than a dream come true. It was a vision brought to life by sheer determination.
Twenty-six years ago, no one would have believed this achievement possible. Born with Phocomelia-syndrome Emma’s legs were severely shortened. However, her parents lovingly raised her as a normal child, refusing to let her condition get in the way of a full life.
And for the most part, they succeeded. Young Emma was bright and creative. She explored a variety of art forms, learning to express herself through them. But one medium escaped her. Ballet.
She painted, she sculpted, yet nothing captured her imagination like graceful ballerinas bringing stories to life. When they leapt through the air, it was as if gravity had no hold on them. Unseen wings seemed to transport them to a secret realm of unrestrained freedom.
Emma longed to be a part of that world. To create magic with her body, to be an instrument of beauty. And so, with unwavering courage, she set about to achieve this goal.
Emma knew a traditional dance floor would not serve her. Instead, she set her eyes on an aquatic stage.
For years she practised. Weighed down by diving belts, Emma learnt to hold her breath for record periods of time.
Working with synchronised swimmers, she choreographed an entire routine to be performed entirely underwater. Her fellow aqua-dancers were talented, but there was a clear star.
Emma was a shining beacon, an inspiration to anyone who thought their dream was out of reach. She showed the world that anything is possible if you are brave enough to try.