Rockettes’ Pick for Dancer of the Week: 8-Year-Old Amputee Dancer

Who: Alissa Sizemore

Her dance:

Why we chose her: Dancers are a courageous bunch—and no dancer exemplifies that more than 8-year-old Alissa Sizemore of Vernal, Utah. In May 2014, Alissa lost her right leg below the knee after a tragic accident that resulted in amputation. But Alissa, a dancer since the age of 4, hasn’t let that hold her back from continuing her passion for dance.

After doctors were unable to save her leg, Alissa received a prosthetic. She not only got back into the dance studio within a year, but performed her first solo performance since the accident that changed her life at Vernal’s high school gymnasium last May. Set to Colbie Caillat’s “Try,” Alissa’s performance resonated with the lyrics (Caillat sings about loving yourself as you are!), dancing confidently and beautifully with her prosthetic leg. Halfway through her routine, she took it off, continued dancing and received a much-deserved standing ovation.

“I just didn’t want to give up,” Alissa tells PEOPLE magazine. “Dancing has been my favorite thing since I was 4. I don’t have part of my leg, but I can’t let that stop me. I still want to dance.”

Alissa’s courage and grace shows just what dancers are made of.

Fun fact: In October, Caillat surprised Alissa with a live performance while the budding ballerina performed her solo on the TODAY Show.

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