Disability or Ability?
Salón de Baile Ballroom Dance Studio - "Dance as if no one is watching"
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Disability or Ability?

Dance is usually not done as just a hobby. More often than not,
dancers will tell you it is their passion. I do not differ from this
mold. Dance is my passion, and it always has been. Though, I did enjoy
straying from the path most traveled, in this case being ballet, hip
hop, or jazz.
I evolved into what is considered an aerial dancer. I competed in pole
dance championships and performed aerial silks. I loved the
combination of flexibility, strength, and dance.
Then, all of it was ripped from me when I fell off a ski lift. I
destroyed both of my knees, including but not limited to three tears
in my ACL. After that, dance seemed to be a thing of the past for me.
After years and years in and out of wheelchairs and crutches, even
After seven knee surgeries and still more to come, I continued to
rebuild my career but it was never the same.
I finally felt back to myself when my road of dance got another
pothole. I was 17. When I saw my doctor, he told me the hearing loss
in my right ear was now permanent and I should expect to loose the
left ear as well. My left ear followed on New Year's Eve when I was
20. I was defeated. I finally felt as though my chance was over. So I
retired my pointe shoes, my silks, and my pole.
I started my new path. I enrolled in Armstrong State University,
became an English major, and learned to live with my body that
betrayed me. The school told me that I had to take P.E. Courses. I saw
a class for modern dance for beginners. I decided I would take a
chance. I thought to myself, "well, they are all beginners, and I will
be starting from the bottom as well, so why not."

I walked in and Rachael Moore as the instructor. She must have seen
something in me, because she told me to apply for her internship.
Now the stage is finally set. I started working at Salon de Baile as
an intern in November of 2015. I had my first competition in January
and walked away with first place in every heat I competed.
Though my dancing does come with some added complications, like my partner tapping the beat on my shoulder to assist me with keeping
time, Or like the shadow of my next knee surgery hanging over my head, which I'm currently working on scheduling between competitions. It is all worth it.

Rachael Moore is my perfect mentor. Her mission statement is that
anyone can dance. Because of this, Rachael gave a chance to a bad
kneed, deaf dancer who just wanted a second chance to pursue her
passion. She constantly explains to people that neither of those make
me any less of a dancer than anyone else, and neither of those are a
hindrance or disability.

I am honored to be an example of Rachael's mission statement. So if
you enjoy to move, but feel you have no rhythm or that you have two left feet, remember that I am a bionic kneed, deaf-dancer who now is a teacher, an entertainer, and a competitive ballroom dancer.

--Ashlie McCormac, SdeB Inter, Ballroom Competitor, SdeB LaBlast Instructor

August 10th, 2016

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