Rockettes hire first dancer with a visible disability

Thursday, December 05, 2019 @ 11:43 PM
By Nancy Clanton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fans of the Rockettes have another reason to kick up their heels.

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For the first time in the troupe’s history, there is a dancer with a visible disability.

Sydney Mesher, a dancer and model from Portland, Oregon, was born without a left hand. But, according to her website, she “found confidence within her unique body, and has embarked on a journey of celebrating and praising all body types.”

On Nov. 13, she made her debut at Radio City Music Hall as a Rockette.

The requirements for being a Rockette include a dance background in ballet, jazz and tap, and a height between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 10.5 inches.

Nowhere does it say you have to have two hands, however.

Mesher was born with symbrachydactyly, a rare condition that causes the underdevelopment of limbs in the womb. "Growing up, I dealt with a lot of bullying," she told Health magazine last year.

She was studying dance at Pace University at the time of the Health interview, and said she had hopes of becoming a Rockette or a backup dancer for Lady Gaga after graduation.

“I’m very grateful that I’m at a time in this industry where we’re starting to accept different body types," she told Health. "I know I am different. Especially as an artist, it's so important to have those differences."

The Rockettes have been finding ways to add “differences” to the troupe. During auditions here in May, creative director Karen Keeler said Atlanta dancers can help to culturally diversify the lineup.

Mesher’s difference is just another way the group is trying to diversify.

Check out Mesher’s Instagram for more photos and videos of her dancing with the Rockettes and on her own.