No Surrender from Street Dancer Amber

I promised in an earlier post to bring you a real live dancer whom injury had stopped doing the one thing she really loved.

Amber broke her arm whilst doing a handspring
Amber broke her arm doing a hand-spring

Meet nine-year-old Amber Kershaw. She’s the first child to feature on this blog – but her frustration – and determination – is just as real as anyone else’s!

For the last three years or so, Amber’s enjoyed dancing with Stoke-on-Trent based Urban Vibez and has entered many events with her crew Crazy 8’s.

All this changed last June.

Amber told me: “I was doing a hand-spring and I slipped.”

Amber (third from right) with her crew Crazy 8
Amber (third from right) with her crew Crazy 8’s

Her mother Roisin McKinney added: “She came in from the park one day and said, ‘I think I’ve broken my arm’, and I didn’t take her seriously! So I sent her to bed with some ice on it and when we woke up in the morning it was the size of a football.”

They went straight to A&E, where doctors confirmed Amber had not only broken her tibia and fibula, but had dislocated her elbow too.

Amber was told by medics her fracture was one of the worst they’d seen in a child.

She's always dancing
She’s always dancing

But her fellow dancers were very supportive – “I got a lot of attention, they just looked after me a lot.”

Fate being what it is, Amber injured her arm the day after her plaster cast came off in September, prompting more trips to the hospital, more time away from dancing and another plaster cast. She’s undergone surgery too.

Watching her friends dance when she couldn’t join in soon proved frustrating for Amber and she preferred to stay home rather than sit on the side-lines.

Goofing around with mum Roisin after one of her operations
Crazy selfies with mum Roisin after an op

Roisin said: “She’s had to miss a lot of dances, and I think that’s affected her in all aspects of her life because she did say to me once that music and dancing was her whole life.

“But she’s determined and she’s never stopped practicing – even when she shouldn’t have been! And now she’s going to go to the world dance competitions in August.”

That’s right – Amber and her crew are off to Glasgow this summer to compete at the UDO Worlds Street Dance Championships 2015.

In the more immediate future, she may even be off to compete in Blackpool.

Amber's looking forward to competing on a world class level
Amber’s looking forward to competing at a world class level

Amber’s under no illusion that she has a lot of moves to learn – and she still has to be careful doing anything that involves putting weight on her hands, such as the “drop”.

Pain, too, is an issue. It’s certainly affected her confidence.

Grandad Martin McKinney said: “I’ve watched her practicing, and yes, she has shied away from her dance because of the wariness she might hurt something. But bit by bit she’s getting better.”

“Obviously pain sometimes meant that she’s had to miss lessons so she’s missed a hell of a lot and she’s joined in when she can,” Roisin explained, “But I know it’s frustrated her, because she can’t do the things she used to do and she’s been in a lot of pain over the months.”

Judging from Amber’s dedication, I for one reckon this won’t stop her making a complete return to street dancing – and I wish her all the best in Glasgow this summer.

Please note – full parental consent was given for this interview and an adult family member was present at all times.