May 17, 2017



Hi Nikki,
I’ve always wanted to dance. But, the problem is I have a really bad ankle. I broke it seriously when I was five, and ever since then I have to be extra careful with it. I know if I asked my mom to take dance lessons, she would laugh and say, “You know you can’t dance with your ankle!” What’s worse, I recently broke my ankle AGAIN. Now she’ll never let me dance!! What should I do?!

Shattered Ankle-Broken Dreams

Dear Shattered Ankle-Broken Dreams,

Well, first of all, I think it’s AWESOME to have dreams! No judgment here!

Usually, I’m a HUGE cheerleader for people’s dreams. Even if something seems really hard and unrealistic—maybe you want to be a movie star or an Olympic athlete, or president in the United States—throw yourself into it with all your passion! Give it everything! There’s this cheesy old expression I really like that goes like this: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

The thing is, you never lose something by trying hard. Even if you don’t achieve the thing you were trying for, you gain skills or confidence or experience that help you with other things you try next.

It’s tough to be in a situation where the thing you dream of is maybe impossible. If you’ve got serious ankle problems, you’re probably not going to become a prima ballerina. So you do have to be realistic.

BUT, I think it might help to think about what you love about dance. If you do that, you might be able to figure out another way. For example, if you love the idea of performing and expressing yourself? Well, you could do acting/improv/theater. Or playing an instrument or singing in a band. If it’s the physical activity, maybe swimming? If you just love the WORLD of dance, maybe you could volunteer at a ballet company—paint sets, run lights, or help with the tiny kid classes. Or review dance performances on a blog or school paper.

If you’re really, really in love with dance and nothing besides dancing will ever possibly be as good…you’ll find a way. It might not be regular dance lessons. But think about it. There’ve been people with no legs on Dancing with the Stars. I was curious, so I searched for “wheelchair dance” on YouTube and found some really amazing results.

THEN I searched “disabled dance” and OMG!! I found this AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL ballet duet (I think that’s called a pas de deux?) between a man with one leg and a woman with one arm. Check it out here:

So I guess I’m back to being a mega-cheerleader for dreams!! If you REALLY want something, find a way to make it happen. It might not look exactly like what you first imagined. That’s okay! But at least you’ll never wonder what might have happened if you just tried a little bit harder!!

(And if your mom does laugh, I think you need to be honest with her about how much you want this. Share ideas other than dance class. Show her how strongly you feel. I bet she’ll try to help you find a way!)

Have you ever had a dream that felt impossible? Did you achieve it? Do you regret trying?