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

May 4, 2017

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: