As Kick It Out counts down to our 25th Anniversary Dinner on February 28, we caught up with freelance inclusive dance artist, Laura Dajao, who will be performing on the night. She tells us her story.

For many people, the loss of a limb would spell the end to any would-be dancing career.

But Laura Dajao is not your average dancer.

The 30-year-old has been performing her whole life. However, in 2007 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and started using a wheelchair one year later.

“I was up against unpredictable symptoms that often left me unable to walk more than a couple of steps. But even when I started using a wheelchair, I kept dancing,” Laura explains.

Until her diagnosis, dancing had been little more than a hobby for Laura, who lives in North Woolwich, East London.

But, as her physical condition deteriorated it played an increasingly greater role in her life.  

“I use dancing as a way of coping with my condition. It’s really helped with my rehab,” says Laura.

“I’ve always been interested in dance. It started with street dance, then moved into contemporary. In my routines I try to infuse different styles to mix it up.”

Picture: Shakti Orion

Laura’s experiences as a disabled dancer have ensured diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of her work.

“It’s one of the things I like to think is at the forefront of everything I do, whether it’s performing, teaching or being out in the community. Inclusive practices are at the centre of my life because of who I am and what I do,” she says.

“My experiences as a disabled dancer are varied. I’ve been lucky enough to be in environments that have really embraced me and supported me, but I’ve also been in other environments where it’s been difficult.”

Since turning professional, Laura has performed at numerous events and has even turned her hand to choreography and teaching.

Her career highlights include performing at the London 2012 Paralympics closing ceremony and the Olympics opening ceremony in the same year, which was directed by Academy Award-winning British film director Danny Boyle.

However, in 2014 Laura lost her leg after an infection and was forced to quit dancing. Fortunately, it was only a temporary hiatus, owing to her inspirational resilience.

“I strive to be more than what the wheelchair I sit in represents and to inspire everyone to realise their physical and artistic capabilities, as I have and will continue to do. 

“It’s going to be great to showcase what I do in terms of not conforming to the norm. People can expect a little bit of fun – or a lot of fun! It’s something a little different that you don’t see from disabled dancers.”