Disabled Venezuelans Reach New Heights through Dance
In 2010, a gunshot crushed Iraly Yanez's dreams of finding a job as a dancer.
The bullet struck Yanez as she entered her home, just outside Caracas, Venezuela. It damaged two vertebrae in her backbone, leaving her unable to walk. Today the 34-year-old Venezuelan requires a wheelchair to move around.
But now, she is working toward her goal of becoming a professional dancer, thanks to a dance company that helps physically disabled individuals perform.
The company, AM Danza, works with 50 young Venezuelans with disabilities, such as broken spines, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or blindness.
Yanez joined the group in September. She recently performed in her wheelchair in an hour-long show in one of the most celebrated theaters in Caracas.
After the performance, Yanez spoke with the Associated Press (AP).
"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," she said. "I can't allow external issues to affect me any longer."
During the show, disabled dancers performed with fully-abled professional dancers to show that art knows no limits. Some of those watching the show cried.
Dancers with limited movement in their legs lifted the crutches supporting them in the air all at once. One dancer lifted Yanez from her wheelchair and above her shoulders to perform complex moves.
Alexander Madriz is the director of AM Danza. He told the AP, "Dancing is all about passion. You have to enjoy your possibilities and use your body to express emotions."
Madriz has worked for over 20 years with dancers who have disabilities. He says that thanks to them, he has learned that body expression has no limits.
"Not everything has to be the perfect lines and symmetry that you see in contemporary classical dance," he said.
Madriz said that the students' love for dance has helped them overcome the many difficulties faced by disabled people in Venezuela. Public transportation in the country is especially difficult for people in wheelchairs. There are few ramps on sidewalks and near public buildings to assist them.
And like everyone else in Venezuela, the disabled have to deal with shortages of medical supplies and inflation that affects their wages.
Yanez has a difficult time during the week getting transportation to the place where AM Danza trains. She says she can spend up to three hours waiting for one of the few wheelchair-friendly buses that pass through her neighborhood.
But that does not seem to decrease her willingness to practice.
She said that the dance company has been a positive influence on her life. She added that performing with the group makes her feel like she can now "fly through the sky."
Yanez said that she is looking forward to dancing in more performances.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.move around 四处行走
He stood up and began to move around the room.
2.thanks to 幸亏
Thanks to that job I became an avid reader.
3.at once 立刻；马上
I recognized his voice at once.
4.medical supplies 医药用品
The purpose of the occasion was to raise money for medical supplies.
5.And like everyone else in Venezuela, the disabled have to deal with shortages of medical supplies and inflation that affects their wages.
deal with 处理；应付
He's a hard man to deal with.
They have not finalized the deal with the government.
6.Yanez said that she is looking forward to dancing in more performances.
looking forward to 期待；期望
The day we have been looking forward to has come at long last.
He was looking forward to working with the new Prime Minister.
当时，正在返回位于委内瑞拉加拉加斯郊外住所的亚涅斯被子弹击中 。子弹导致脊椎的两块脊椎骨受损，她因此无法行走 。如今，这位34岁的委内瑞拉人依靠轮椅四处活动 。
这家名为AM Danza的公司向50位委内瑞拉残疾青年提供帮助，他们所患残疾包括脊柱骨折、脑瘫、唐氏综合症和失明 。
亚涅斯9月份加入了该舞蹈团体 。最近，在加拉加斯最著名的一家剧院里，她坐着轮椅完成了长达一小时的演出 。
“这是千载难逢的机会，”她说 。“我不能再受外部因素的影响了 。”
表演时，残疾舞者与健全的专业舞者一起表演，向观众诠释艺术是没有界限的 。台下的观众看湿了眼眶 。
腿部活动受限的舞者举起拐杖，同时支撑自己站立起来 。一名舞者将亚涅斯从轮椅上抱起，举过她的肩膀，来表演复杂的动作 。
亚历山大·马德里斯是AM Danza的导演 。他告诉美联社，“跳舞不外乎激情 。你必须全身心享受自己的潜能，用不完美的身体来传递情感 。”
马德里斯已与残疾舞者工作20余载 。他表示，多亏了他们，他才懂得肢体语言没有界限 。
马德里斯表示，学生对舞蹈的热忱帮助他们克服了委内瑞拉残疾人面临的诸多困境 。对于依靠轮椅出行的人来说，乘坐公共交通工具尤其令人头疼 。人行道和公共建筑附近几乎没有坡道来辅助他们出行 。
亚涅斯这一周十分辛苦，她需要乘坐交通工具到达AM Danza的训练场所 。她说，她得花三个小时才能等到几辆设有轮椅专座的公交车经过社区 。
她说，这家舞蹈公司对她的生活产生了积极的影响 。她还说，和舞蹈团一起演出让她觉得自己可以“翱翔天际”了 。