This Powerful Video Shows What It's Like to Dance with Cerebral Palsy

When Jerron Herman was diagnosed with hemiplegia cerebral palsy, the doctors told him that he would likely need help doing everyday tasks like eating and getting dressed.

Today, Herman is six years into his professional dance career. He currently performs with Heidi Latsky Dance, an integrated company that includes dancers with a range of physical abilities. He also serves as the youngest member of The New York Dance & Performance Awards (or Bessies) selection committee.

This video created by Great Big Story shows how Herman's disability enriches his movement quality, adding a layer of texture and nuance that's captivating to watch. "The things that were perceived as negative are now enfolded into the choreography," says Herman. But that doesn't mean he can't perform codified steps, too: "I've been told my arabesque is crazy!" he says.

Herman balances virtuosity and control, subtlety and complexity when executing Latsky's choreography—and watching him rehearse next to his colleagues is a powerful demonstration of how different dancers with different abilities can bring new dimension to the same phrase.

The dance world is still incredibly restrictive for disabled performers. But dancers like Herman show that it's not only possible to dance with a disability—but that disability can inform movement in invaluable ways. "I've always been an advocate for those who pursue the antithesis of their limitation," he says.

Watch more of Herman in Heidi Latsky's On Display, a movement installation focusing on diversity and visibility:

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.