Rockettes Pick for Dancer of the Week: Graceful Abbie
Who: Abbie Grace
Why we chose her: Nine-year-old Abbie Grace, from Tampa, Fla., is dancing through life despite her challenges (she’s been in the hospital over 100 times in nine years). Abbie Grace has been diagnosed with a multitude of medical conditions that has led her to be dependent on an IV hydration port in her chest and three tubes in her stomach: She has spina bifida occulta, gastroparesis, motility disorder, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome(POTS), chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIP), neurogenic bladder, FBN1 gene mutation, chronic UTI and a connective tissue disorder.
For 22 hours a day, Abbie carries a backpack which houses her feeding tube and the 12+ medicines she’s required to take throughout the day. But what does she do during those two hours when she’s not wearing her backpack? She dances (beautifully!) of course. As a student at Mary Jo’s Performing Arts Academy, Abbie has been dancing since she was 3 years old and doesn’t let her disorders keep her from living out her passion.
“It is so much more than dance,” Abbie says in a video on her GoFundMe page. “It is what keeps me alive and what motivates me to push past the pain and make the most of each day.”
When she’s in the hospital and not able to attend her dance classes, she teaches the nurses ballet while her dance instructors visit her to teach her new dance choreography.
Fun fact: Her parents named her ‘Abbie Grace’ because they were hopeful for a little girl after having two boys. ‘Abbie’ means “Father’s Joy” and ‘Grace’ is meant to represent the “Grace of God.”
Rockette kicks (on a scale of 10 to 10!):