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How long have I been dancing for? I wouldn’t know what to tell you, the only thing I always remember when someone or I ask that question, is myself dancing in the middle of a bar to the song “la quiero a morir” by DLG, and up till now.
My name is Valme, a lot of you already know me by the name, others by the girl who dances with a crutch and, for some of you, it´s the first time you hear about me.
The same way it´s happened for a lot of people who are reading this, dance saved me in so many occasions…Every time I had to stop dancing because of force majeure…I felt I was going deeper into that loophole it is so hard to come out sometimes.
Thinking about dancing is to stop the mind, smile permanently and forget that which hurts, even physical pain.
Because of my physical situation I have found, also in this scene, as it couldn’t be otherwise, a lot situations of rejection and prejudice, but above all, also admiration.
Of all the things I have thought clear in my life, one of them is that I will not let myself be conditioned more than life has already conditioned me. I will not stop doing what I like, simply because there are not a lot of people like me who do it, life goes by and time goes by, and I’m not here to waste it, but to invest it in doing what fills my soul.
From my experience, there are a lot of things we can adapt and change. We are taught to do partner combos with two hands, but no one thinks about teaching it with one hand when I’m in class… what happens with all of those who have lack of mobility or are missing one superior limb? In my case, dancing is the only moment in my life where I change a limp for one arm, because when I use a crutch I can’t use my hand and there have been a lot of people who stress out because they don’t know how to do things with only one hand.
There exist people for every case scenario….teachers…dance partners…..for every single one.
80% of the occasions I go dancing, and they are a lot, if I don’t ask someone to dance, no one will ask me.
When I go to a salsa, bachata and kizomba session, I never expect someone to ask me to dance, If I had to wait for that….I would die waiting. But I do admit that when someone comes to me and asks “do you dance?” by heart smiles and my eyes shine.
I have a lot of stories.
I remember one night I asked a guy to dance…he looked over at me all the way up and down, not even in a hospital scanner do they test you so much, and said “well….okay…” As if he was doing my a favour or a charity work, to what I reply “looks can be deceiving”. Surprisingly in the middle of the song, he said sorry for having judged me based on my looks.
In another one, the man said “how am I supposed to do with you, how are you gonna dance being a cripple” And I said, “well…here I am to test how good of a dancer you are, let’s see if you can adapt to any type of person with any type of quality or condition”.
I have also faced all the opposite, people who stop dancing to congratulate me, or thank me for having shared a dance, for letting them be educated and learn.
Out of all this I have learned that a “no”, a lot of times doesn´t mean they don’t want to, which can happen, but also that they are afraid of making me fall, of hurting me or of feeling insecure, and all of it is valid and just and, if possible, not judged.
If you asked me what “being a good social dancer” is, for me, it is a synonym of empathy, of making the other person you are dancing with feel good, being able to adapt to the person in front of you, not prejudge, to share and give happiness…the only thing which is incompatible with what we love most, it’s not about a dance dancing with another man, or being a woman dancing with another woman, being deaf, blind, maimed, a cripple, a limp….the only thing which is INcompatible with being a good dancer is having your mind, heart and soul closed.