Hannah Toews

Alberta • Canada

Story

When I was 12 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had just started at a very competitive new studio, and I didn't want to be treated any differently. I was in pain every day, and after two years of trying to fit in without any modifications for my body (breaks, less full-out rehearsals) I finally quit. It was heartbreaking for me. I thought I would never dance again, and that I was a failure. I didn't dance for two years after that. Eventually, the yearning for dance inside me became too much to contain, and I started dance again at my local studio. This is my third year back and the competition season is about to start! Also, today I completed my RAD Advanced Foundation ballet exam! I'm so thankful for dance and the mentors you collect along the way. They are my inspiration.

That dance isn't about perfection. It isn't about the most turns, or the best arabesques. It's about how you move and change yourself and others. It is about evoking emotion. Know that you can keep going, even if others are telling you to quit. Dance for yourself if no one else is rooting for you. I believe in you.