Saturday, October 6, 2018

Just Dance

This morning, Andrew and I took Brennen to see Luca 'LazyLegs' Patuelli perform and present his "No Excuses. No Limits." program for a sold-out crowd at Easter Seals House! 

His show was similar to the one he presented at City Hall earlier this week, but there was something extra special about watching him do his thing in a space where we often gather with other families who have young ones with disabilities. It was like having a guest in our home who comes with the best of intentions and the warmest of wishes and only wants to see us all succeed and thrive and live our very best lives. It was magical, and Luca touched the hearts of everyone in the room with his positive attitude and uplifting message.

"Keeping an open-mind allows a person to adapt to any situation and find solutions despite feelings of vulnerability or uncertainty. This adaptation, in turn, spawns the persistent determination to see possibilities rather than challenges, breeding the creative thinking that allows people to overcome any obstacle."

After his presentation, Luca offered a workshop for youth and adults with diverse abilities, and Brennen and I were excited to take part in the instruction. Luca had spoken about how it is the slightest movements that make the greatest impact in a performance, and recognizing the value that each particular dancer brings to the piece.

"He understands that different body types and ability levels interpret movements slightly differently. Rather than making imitation of movements the goal, Luca works with dancers to push their boundaries and explore various possibilities which, in turn, allows for unique and emotional connections within the choreographies."

It was incredible to see so many individuals with diverse abilities throw out their inhibitions and use their bodies to create their own unique dance moves. And there were some seriously good dancers in the house!

Like Bella:

And Graysen:

And Hannah:

As a parent, when your child receives a life-altering diagnosis and you are told that he will likely never walk or talk or be able to do anything independently, so many of your hopes are crushed and your dreams go out the window. Thirteen years ago, when our diagnosis was still fresh, I could never have imagined that Brennen and I would be participating in a dance workshop, where his abilities were valued and his movements were celebrated.

Having a child with a disability is not an experience to be pitied, but a joy that makes me feel pretty damn lucky to be living this life, and I know I'm not the only one. Standing around that dance circle in the gymnasium this morning, I felt like the proudest mother there, until I caught the looks on the faces of the other parents and realized that they too felt like the proudest in the room. I am forever grateful for the gift that Brennen is in our lives, and when I attend events like this one, I am reminded of what a privilege it is to be a part of this community. Watching these children, all dancers in their own right, makes me understand even more that every life holds great value and there is infinite beauty in our unique abilities.

Thank you, Luca, for spending time with us and for sharing your talents with our community. Thank you for your meaningful message. And thank you for seeing what we see - that our families are lucky and wonderfully blessed, and our children have so much to offer. I hope you enjoyed your time in Newfoundland. You have certainly left a lasting impression on all of us!

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