I felt compelled to write about another memorable dancer from this season of So You Think You Can Dance: Shane Garcia. Shane stammers, so he uses dance as his language and form of personal expression. His story was heartbreaking but very inspiring, especially when he spoke to the judges and stammered. He was probably already nervous to talk to them – and be televised – which likely made the stammer worse. The judges said what I as a viewer felt: that his dance created an amazing conversation. Movement in itself is a language. Shane’s story moved me to tears and made me very sad but also hopeful. His story speaks to the power of the human spirit and the strength of the human heart.
My story is different in that I used my language to compensate for my physical limitations. I learned very quickly when I was little that I could get what I wanted (and get away with anything) simply through asking, demanding, or making my needs known verbally. I knew that I was physically compromised, so my sense of myself was shaped through my verbal expression and, eventually, my writing.
I was very sad when Shane did not progress through Vegas week as I hoped he would. I’m glad to have read on his Twitter that he will try out again for the show next summer. He has a lot of people behind him who watched the show and believe in his talent and his ability to motivate people to make meaning and beauty out of debilitating predicaments. I think his story touched everyone, not just those who feel marginalized or who struggle with verbal or physical challenges. His humility and bravery are very inspiring.