A 22-Year-Old Dancer with No Left Hand Is Now the First Visibly Disabled Radio City Rockette
Sydney Mesher says she dreamt about joining the holiday dance troupe since she was young.
Sydney Mesher, who was born without her left hand, has made history as the first visibly disabled person to become a Radio City Rockette.
The 22-year-old from Portland, Oregon, detailed her journey to becoming a Rockette in a Radio City Rockettes video this week, explaining that she dreamt about joining the holiday dance troupe when she was young. (Here's how you can recreate the Rockettes' signature French twist.)
"I would always love watching the Rockettes on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," Mesher said. "It was such a fond memory that I have. My whole family would be sitting around, making Thanksgiving dinner, and we would watch the parade and the Rockettes would come up. I would be glued to the television and that's when I knew I wanted to be a Rockette."
"There was something different, there was just something about her," Mesher’s father said. "She loved to perform. She was never afraid of the moment."
Mesher said that when she was 11 years old, the Rockettes hired her studio to do the opening number for their tour, which she participated in. In her junior year of high school, she went to a performing arts high school and pursued her passion for dance in college in New York City.
In 2018, Mesher auditioned to be a Rockette but was not selected.
"It was okay because I got to go back and finish my college career. I graduated, and I was really focused. I wanted this to be my year," she said.
However, Mesher had a setback in January when she broke her foot and was sidelined for five months.
"It was a very challenging time, but that reignited my love for what I do because I wasn't able to do it," she said. After Mesher healed, she auditioned—and was finally selected—for the Rockettes in New York.
"I had to pull over. I was shaking. A dream come true," she said. "The second I finished the call, I immediately called my mom."
"She's sunshine, energy, she's passion," her mother Lynn said. "I can't wait to see her at the kick-line."
Due to her disability, Mesher has to hold the oversized box toy in the "Rag Dolls" dance from a different angle. And in the "Here Comes Santa Claus" number, she holds one bell in her right hand instead of one in each. (Related: Your Holiday Makeup Tutorial, Courtesy of Two Rockettes)
"In the end, it still creates the same picture," she said.
Mesher said that she's received an incredible amount of support since she joined the dance troupe, including from her fellow dancers.
"I have been completely baffled with the amount of support and love in getting the job," she said. "The amount of love and excitement I have received has been so incredible. It's been humbling to receive so much love."
She also recalled an emotional moment when rehearsing the finale, which ends with Mesher raising her left arm: "I remember just sobbing in rehearsal because I am so proud to be here and it means so much to me. It's one of those moments in my life where I am like 'This is why I do what I do.'"
"I am so eager, but I am trying to stay present because I don't want these moments to pass," she added. "They are truly a gift."
This story originally appeared on People.com by Eric Todisco.