Ballet is well known for its exclusivity, so it is truly refreshing to hear the heartwarming stories of strong characters who are not afraid of challenging its barriers to pursue a career in dancing.
Pollyanna’s is one such story. At the young age of 2 Pollyanna Hope had to have her right leg amputated below the knee after a terrible bus collision in South West London.
These hard circumstances did not stop her from pursuing her passion for ballet. She started taking classes at age 7 and her determination to fulfil her dream of dancing helped her overcome the obvious physical obstacles, as well as the resistance she has been facing from the ballet community.
At 16 years old, thanks to her hard work and talent, Pollyanna was chosen as one of the performers at a Dance for Mobility fundraiser hosted in Manhattan by Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, and Lorna and Ed Goodman on the 18th of November.
The event, at the Florence Gould Theater, raised around $80,000 for Penta, a non-profit that supplies prosthetic limbs all over the world, and which works with Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope, a UK charity founded by Pollyanna’s family that supports child amputees in Africa and India.
For the occasion, she donned one of the world’s first custom-made “en pointe” prosthetic legs, created by the design and engineering team at Dorset Orthopedic.
“It was the first time I’ve danced on stage on it and it felt great, I really enjoyed it.”, Pollyanna said. “It was nice to perform on it for once instead of practising in my kitchen.”
The creation of this special prosthetic device was made possible after her father, Telegraph journalist Christopher Hope, appealed on social media for someone to develop a ballet prosthetic so she could do pointe work on both legs.
Pollyanna’s inspiring story sheds a light not just on the importance of access to prosthetic devices, but also on the need for wider inclusivity within the dance world.