“Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t dance.” This is what Kitty Lunn, a paralyzed dancer, has been telling herself and her students for the past 30 years. A dancer since eight, Kitty was a ballerina in Washington Ballet, when she slipped on a piece of ice, breaking her spine. Suddenly, she became a paralytic. Lying in bed for three years, she decided to embrace the body she has, and began dancing in a wheelchair.
Sitting in a wheelchair specially made by her husband, Kitty believes the rituals of dancing help her heal center and remind her who she is. “I am a dancer, no matter what happened in my life. That stays constant.”
When Kitty first started dancing in her wheelchair, there was no one there to teach her. She had to do it on her own. So she founded Infinity Dance Theater, a company that works with disabled dancers in New York City, in order to give them opportunities to fit into a mainstream dance world.
Christine lost her sight a few years ago in an accident. Always been a ballerina, she couldn't stand her life without dancing. Kitty helped her to picked up where she left off.
“People have a preconceived notion of what a blind dancer can or cannot do. That’s why in my resume I have never made it clear that I am visionally impaired,” said Christine. “Kitty is different. She doesn’t see limitations in me, and doesn’t choreograph for me as the dancer I am but the dancer I’m going to be.”
It seems to be a simple move of pushing up off the floor into a standing position, for these dancers, it’s rife with emotional meanings. “People called us wheelchair bound. That sounds like I am tied to a chair against my will,” said Kitty. “I am unbound.”