The Beauty of Being a Dancer With Cerebral Palsy
Roughly one in five of us live with some form of what’s usually called ‘a disability’. But difference is not weakness – in fitness, work or life. MH spoke to five men about how the things that once held them back have ultimately unleashed their potential.
Jerron Herman never expected to become a dancer. Then he interned with a theatre company in New York and was inspired. During college, he auditioned for Heidi Latsky Dance, a collective of dancers with and without disabilities. ‘Heidi was interested in my form of cerebral palsy, as I moved in a way that excited her, even though the left side of my body is impacted by spasms and mostly restricted movement,’ he says. He became a lead dancer and eventually began performing independently, booking shows everywhere from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to the Whitney Museum of American Art.
‘You have to give yourself grace,’ Herman says. ‘My movement on the day of a performance could be very different from prior rehearsals. I have learned to be okay with that. There’s even a beauty in the uniqueness of each performance. I most recently choreographed and performed, as a black disabled man, my rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man to get others to think about disability aesthetics and man’s function. But I think every single time I dance, I am communicating freedom. It’s the freedom to be true to myself. The freedom to listen to my body. The freedom to create. You don’t need to be able-bodied to be free.’
A version of this article appeared in the March 2023 issue of Men's Health.
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