Bending backwards

Scoliosis doesn’t stop dancer from pursuing passion


photo credit: Mallory Hatch

On the floor \\ Working out in dance class, freshman Jazmine Gibbs doesn’t let a curved spine get in the way of doing what she dreams. “After finding out I had scoliosis, I went home and cried,” Gibbs said. “I was devastated.”

writer: Andrea Ensign, journalism student

Every student is familiar with the routine. Students are called into the nurse’s office one by one, where she asks them to lift up their shirt and bend over at the waist. Awkwardly, they oblige, and the nurse examines their backs for asymmetry. Usually, a student is dismissed to carry on with their with their lives. In some cases, however, it isn’t this simple.

Freshman Jazmine Gibbs recently discovered some discouraging news: she has scoliosis, and it’s getting worse as time goes on.

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown.

“The day I found out I had scoliosis,  I went home and cried,” Gibbs said. “It was devastating.”

Gibbs is a dance and gymnastics enthusiast, and has been her whole life. While she never took lessons at a young age, she would dance alone in her room, showing what she could do to her friends at school the next day.

“I like the feeling of showing off what I learned and people being like, ‘wow, that’s so cool!’ I feel like I’ve accomplished something,” Gibbs said.

Since her diagnosis, Gibbs has been instructed to wear a brace for 16 hours every day.

“I need to wear my brace, but it’s so uncomfortable,” Gibbs said. “If I don’t, I might have to get surgery, and that terrifies me.”

Despite this, she continues to dance everyday. Stretching, twisting and bending across the dancefloor occasionally presents itself as a challenge for the talented young dancer, but no matter what, Gibbs strives to be unphased by her condition.

“I’m not gonna let scoliosis get in the way of what I love,” Gibbs said.