Laura Jones

I started dancing when I was 3 years old. I had gone to Germany to meet my cousins where I joined at the back of her dance class. The teacher told my mother that I had it in me to become a dancer. I don’t remember when I first decided to become a dancer, but I do know this for sure that a part of me always wanted it. A week into my dance classes, I suffered from a spinal bleed which left me paralysed from the chest down. My coaches were great and they asked me to join again and at least finish the theoretical part of my training. Soon they started insisting that I try solo choreography. After some hesitation, I finally gathered the courage and finished my training despite my handicap.

It was difficult improvising moves to suit me and I often doubted my ability to do it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue going to the university and I constantly struggled making finding the balance and believing in myself. I decided to take some time off and joined Stop Gap and I have been a part of it ever since. Dancers on wheelchairs face barriers like inaccessible theatres because most stages do not have ramps. It was difficult to make people understand that dancers from Stop Gap belonged to a full-fledged dance company and were not just a small group.

In the beginning, we had to prove our worth in front of audiences to make a mark in the field of dance, but we were determined to do so. After years of struggle, I’ve become a professional dancer and I aim at motivating people with or without disabilities because I feel that it is my responsibility to encourage others it feels great to contribute something in the making of the dancers of a new generation.