Nathalie Christian was born with congenital dysmelia, which means her left forearm has been missing since birth. This disorder could be limiting and discouraging for the many who have to face it. But for Nathalie, that was not the case.
“Thanks to my beloved mother, my dysmelia never seemed like a problem to me,” says Nathalie. “She is the one who taught me that I could do anything I wanted and to do my best to ignore what other people have to say.”
And what she wanted to do was dance. From the moment she could walk, Nathalie discovered a love for dancing, so she began taking classes in kindergarten. Although it brought her great joy to express herself through dance, there came a time when other people’s comments became too overwhelming.
“When I was on stage, people would stare at me and say things like, ‘Although you are lacking an arm, you performed quite well,’” says Nathalie. “It hurt. I just wanted everyone to see me as a dancer and not as the girl with the missing arm.”
For years, Nathalie stopped doing what she loved. While exercising at her local gym when she was 20 years old, Nathalie accidentally stumbled into a Zumba® class and was immediately reminded of why she had such a passion for dance.
“I looked around and nobody was staring at me,” explains Nathalie. “There was just a bunch of crazy and confident people celebrating life, just like I had always strived to do.”
The message that Nathalie got from the Zumba program was the same one her mother had been telling her throughout her life: You can handle this. Why should we stop you? This message and the positivity she felt from the Zumba community inspired Nathalie to take the next step and become a Zumba Instructor herself.
“I love the Zumba program because everyone can do it and everyone is welcome, regardless of physical inabilities,” says Nathalie. “Today, I find myself teaching classes without insecurities. I want to spread the word to love yourself the way you are and to not let others hold you back.”
So, one question remains: what’s still stopping you?
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