#385: Amy Purdy

I’ve enjoyed watching Dancing with the Stars SO much this season. I’m actually kind of sad tonight is the finale, I want it to keep going! The level of dancing has been so amazing and once we reached the top 6 I thought “Any one of them could win it!”

From the beginning of the season there’ve been several stars I’ve been rooting for, but as it went on one has emerged as my favorite: Amy Purdy. It is amazing to me what she is able to do having two prosthetic legs! Each week I’ve been excited to see what she and Derek are going to do. She is such an inspiration to me, especially being a dancer with a disability I can relate to her story and the struggles she’s faced.

While I’ve enjoyed every single one of her routines, below are the videos of my three favorite routines Amy and Derek have done this season.

Comtemporary: (This is the dance where she really became my favorite)

Jive: (When I saw this one I thought “That would’ve been amazing if she had two regular legs!”)

Freestyle: (From last night, this was so amazing!!)

#385: Thank you Lord for Amy Purdy and the inspiration she’s been to me and so many others on Dancing with the Stars this season.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

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Day 356: The Nutcracker

For me it wouldn’t be Christmas without The Nutcracker! My Grandmother took me to see my first Nutcracker Ballet when I was really little, I can’t remember how old exactly but I can’t remember a Christmas when I was a kid without going to see it. I love the story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, and I’ve seen it more times than I can remember either in person or the various versions on video. I know the Nutcracker is what got me interested in ballet when I was little.

I also own several Nutcrackers and it doesn’t feel right if they’re not out for Christmas! I decorated my cubicle at work this year for Christmas with a Nutcracker theme, I have a tree with mice, soldiers, and a Nutcracker; Clara and the Prince surrounded by snowflakes; each one of the candies and countries from the second act; and around the top on each of the corners is a small Nutcracker. I’ve always wanted to be in a production of the Nutcracker, I don’t care what part, but I’ve never had the opportunity to, still I hope to someday!

Day 356: Thank you Lord for The Nutcracker! It’s such a wonderful Christmas tradition, and I’m so glad it got me interested in ballet so long ago!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 280: Dancing with the Stars

Over the summer I wrote a post about my favorite reality dance show “So You Think You Can Dance” and I thought it was about time to write one about the other dance show I enjoy watching “Dancing with the Stars.” I don’t watch DWTS as much as SYTYCD, it depends on who the celebrities are each season, but I do really enjoy watching it.

For a long time I didn’t enjoy ballroom dancing very much, it was a bit too suggestive and provocative for me, but as I’ve watched more and more I’ve learned that while it can be, not all dance styles are and even the ones that are don’t always have to be. Waltz is my favorite style, both regular and Vienesse, it’s so elegant and graceful; but I also love the Paso Doble, it’s so powerful and stylistic and fun to watch. I’d love to learn how to do Paso, but I have no idea where I could learn it.

On DWTS I really enjoy seeing non-dancers become such amazing dancers, and if it’s someone who I really like outside of the show, I can’t help cheering for them! It’s interesting to watch the pros work with their star, some of them don’t have an easy job, but they’re always positive, work hard, and do their best with who they have. Derek Hough is definitely my favorite pro, it’s funny though, he had to grow on me because at first I didn’t like his style but the more routines I saw from him the more I realized what a genius he is! I’ve just loved each one of his routines the past two seasons and the current one, I always can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next!

Like I did with my post on SYTYCD, I thought I’d include videos my all time favorite DWTS routines. Both come from the All-Star season, and ironically the same week! My favorite duet is the Rumba by Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough, this is probably the only Rumba I’ve EVER loved, because in general they’re too provocative and suggestive for me. However this one is just romantic, and I get chills every time I watch it!

My favorite group routine also features Shawn and Derek, with three other couples to “Call Me Maybe,” it’s just so much fun! (I should mention that while the songs have little to do with why I love these routines so much, both are songs I really like!)

Day 280: Thank you Lord for Dancing with the Stars and how it’s helped me appreciate ballroom dancing, and being able to see celebrities I like dance!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 162: So You Think You Can Dance

There are quite a few tv shows I watch during the regular year, but once summer hits they’re all in re-runs, and frankly I’m glad to have a break from keeping up with all those shows on my DVR. (I’ve finally gotten it down to the last episode of the last show) There are a couple shows I watch during the summer but by far my favorite is “So You Think You Can Dance”! I got hooked on the show part way into Season 3 and haven’t missed an episode since. Every May I get really excited, checking to see when the new season premieres, and when it starts I’m glued to the tv each week watching it.

I love watching this show! It’s so much fun to see the different dance styles, and watch each of the contestants grow and develop as performers and dancers through the season. As a dancer I really appreciate everything that goes on with this show both onstage and in rehearsals. I’ve never had any training in other styles than ballet, and before I started watching this show I didn’t have much appreciation for them. (I had never even heard of “Contemporary”, now probably my favorite style on the show, before I watched it) I also never fully realized how a story could be told in a single dance, since in ballet it usually takes a whole show to tell a story. I wish I could be on the show, but I know with my disability I don’t have the abilities needed, but I’m ok with it, and love watching it!

Without a doubt my favorite dance of all time came week 1 of Season 4, “No Air” choreographed by NappyTabs and danced by Katee and Joshua. I had never really liked Hip-Hop before that night, it was too “grungy” for me. (I now know that’s “krump” which I’ve come to tolerate) The story told in that dance was so beautiful, and I get chills every time I watch it at the very end. I loved this dance so much that it loosely inspired a short story I wrote about a male and female dancer who fall in love, get engaged, but before they get married, he who is in National Guard gets called up for active duty.

Day 162: Thank you Lord for So You Think You Can Dance, for a wonderful show to watch in the summer, and opening my eyes to so many dance styles.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 54: Dancing on Pointe

If you add up all the years I danced ballet it equals more than 10. I loved it so much, and probably would still do it if I had time. Most young ballet dancers dream of dancing on pointe and I was no exception. However, because of my Cerebral Palsy I didn’t think it would ever happen. I have weak ankles, tight muscles in my legs, and not the best balance in the world.

You can imagine my surprise when my teacher told me I could try pointe! I was one of the oldest people in my Christian dance school, and while I was in the most advanced class, not everyone danced on pointe. I was so excited, I didn’t know if I could do, but I wanted to give it a try.

I still remember that first class. I had borrowed pointe shoes from a friend’s who was no longer dancing just to try to see if I could do it before I went out and bought them. I was surprised at how well I was able to keep my balance. I still needed to work on strength, but I could do it!

For the next year and a half, I only used my pointe shoes in class; building up my strength and ability. Then my chance came, I was given a pointe part in the Christmas recital! I couldn’t believe it, and I was SO excited! I never imagined I would ever dance onstage on pointe.

I danced on pointe onstage in two seperate recitals, (four actual dances between the two) before my Christian ballet school closed, and I retired my pointe shoes. I continued taking ballet classes for a couple more years after that but not pointe classes.

Dancing on pointe gave me more confidence in my dance abilities, and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to do it! It also helped me physically, my leg muscles are much stronger than they used to be, and so is my balance. I still occasionally lose my balance, but my body knows instinctivly where to put my feet so I don’t fall. (Of course my body isn’t aware of what’s on the ground around me and I once got a nasty gash in the bottom of my foot, but that’s beside the point)

Day 54: Thank you Lord for allowing me to dance on pointe, it was a dream I had for so long, and I’m so grateful I was able to do it. Thank you also for the physical benefits it has given me.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 51: Ballet

I love to dance! I started taking ballet lessons when I was about 5 and have loved it ever since. For eight years I had the privilege of dancing with a Christian ballet group, which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore, I loved being able to glorify God through dance.

As you might imagine dancing with a disability like Cerebral Palsy wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but I always tried my best. It wasn’t always easy seeing girls younger than me be able to do splits, dance on pointe, dance much better than I could, etc. There were times when I got so frustrated with my physical limitations that I thought about quitting, but I loved it too much to stop. God has been able to use my dancing as a witness for him in so many ways over the years, and that makes it all worth it for me!

Ballet helped me a great deal with stretching. I learned so many stretches during my classes, some I still use today to stretch out my leg muscles when they get tight. I also have a feeling my muscles might be tighter than they are today if it hadn’t been for all the stretching I did then.

Day 51: Thank you Lord for giving me the ability to do ballet, not only for the physical benefits its given me, but allowing me to dance for your glory!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!