Dancing During Covid-19, Finale
I Will Dance celebrates the joy of dancing, the importance of belonging, and the determination of a child who could barely move but dreamed of dancing … not imagine, not pretend, and not alone.
What joy I felt each time I watched a class of the Young Dance Company. Giggles. Smiles. Laughter. Hugs. Dancers of all abilities moved across the room, some in wheelchairs, some with walkers, and some with independent mobility, each dancer in harmony with the others, each one a part of the whole. At performances, when I looked around at the audience, what I saw was not pity or sadness, but joy. Tearful joy.
I felt hope as I witnessed the children and adults sharing a passion, sharing friendship, sharing failures and successes.
All of this is what Eva, the real girl who inspired this book, taught me. Eva was born prematurely, hardly able to breathe or move. But like every child, Eva was born with dreams. Let me try. With longings. Let me belong. And with the desire to be and become herself. Eva. A dancer.
Today the book that I imagined has become real and dances with the images created by the illustrator, Julianna Swaney. Eva’s story will inspire readers of “all ages and all abilities” to dare to be who they want to be.
No one is defined by one’s disability.
Just ask these dancers. Nothing stops them, even a pandemic.
Better yet—watch them dance.
I encourage you to read I Will Dance, the story of Eva, a young girl with a wish to dance and a challenge to achieving that dream. I Will Dance is written by Nancy Bo Flood, illustrated by Julianna Swaney, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.