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Disabled girl launches amazing dance classes

Ellie Aldridge
Ellie Aldridge Image credit: kentonline.co.uk

Ellie Aldridge is the brainchild behind a series of dance classes for people with disabilities, a subject very close to her heart.

The 18-year-old from Kent has chiari malformation, scoliosis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but the trio of health conditions has little to stop her passion for dancing.

Ellie knew something was up when her health started to deteriorate from the age of 16, as the illnesses progressed it robbed her of her mobility.

She told Kent Online: "I'd been having seizures for a few years. Then I just woke up one morning and I couldn't feel my foot.

"We thought it could have been a migraine, so I decided to stay home from college that day. But I ended up having CPR and spent six weeks in the hospital.

"My mobility had just stopped and I couldn't feel my legs anymore. I had a lot of problems with my left arm as well which now I have regained use of. But my legs are still not working and I've not got any feeling."

Realising the challenges some people with disabilities face trying to join mainstream dancing classes Ellie has launched Diz-Ability so no budding dancer can be excluded from the floor.

"I noticed there were not any dance groups or really anything inclusive for people who have extra needs.” Ellie said.

"So I decided to put together a dance group to give that opportunity to those people that can't really cope or physically can't keep up with mainstream classes.

"Sometimes it's difficult to express how you feel through words. I think that's what's so nice about dance and music, that it is an outlet to get things out that you don't quite know how to explain.

"The confidence it gives and just being in that atmosphere with the music and people having fun, making new friends and everybody being able to have that opportunity is great.”

When members sign up to a Diz-Ability class their first week focuses on their abilities which in turn helps Ellie and the team plan their dance routines together.

Ellie added: "I've tried very hard to educate myself on all of the different disabilities of the people who are coming have so that I can understand what their needs may be and the struggles that some of them may face to really adapt it and tailor it for each individual. I want to make it the best experience possible for them.

"I really want to highlight that people have a lot more abilities within their disability than society really give them credit for.

"As someone that had dreams of being in the performance industry, that dream certainly changed after I became disabled, but I say don't let your disability hold you back.

"Don't let society's views on disabilities define how you live. Push those expectations and do what you want to do even if it's in a different, adapted way."

Ellie Aldridge was inspired by Chelsea Hill who runs the Rollettes dance classes in Los Angeles.