Dear Dame Darcy,
My name is Suze and I have decided to write to you. I have been a massive fan of yours on Strictly Come Dancing for years and so glad that you have received an honor as well.
The reason I wanted to write to you, and I have been weighing this up in my head for a while now is because I saw part of your show on dancing and wellbeing.
I wholeheartedly agree that dancing is something that can boost a person’s mental wellbeing, unfortunately now, dancing for me is bittersweet and I will tell you why.
When I was small I wanted to be in the entertainment industry but I wanted to be as much of a threat as I possibly could and as I fell in love with acting, singing, and dance I focused on all 3. The problem I had though is I didn’t know how hard things were going to be for me. You see Dame Darcy when I was in school, I was undiagnosed as Autistic and Dyslexic with a bit of dyspraxia to boot. You may not know much but the autism made me struggle with learning things and the dyspraxia had some issues for me in terms of certain types of dance where co-ordination is vital. Ballet is a very prime example. That didn’t stop me though it did limit me in certain things, for instance, I knew I couldn’t do ballet, the contemporary classes I went to it seemed like all we did was warm-up exercises like running around like butterflies and it made no sense to me but I kept on
I even tried to do dance as a GCSE but had to change school after year 10 and the school I went to did not do dance GCSE, so I had to drop it ☹.
Unknown to me at that time as well was that I also had hypermobile knees which were not helpful when I was knocked over by a pizza delivery bike at the age of 15. I struggled for a long time with my knees after that and was categorically told over and over again that I would never be able to become a dancer I was to “damaged” and that there was no reason to pursue a career in dance.
This was devasting for me. I did not know what to do. I did not know how to cope properly (autistic) so I just stopped dancing. I went from someone who would listen to music and make up dance routines in my living room and then dance them to giving up. Now I only dance in my room with the door closed and the curtains shut so that I am seen by no one.
So now dance for me is something that is bittersweet. It is not something I do anymore and breaks my heart as well. I have considered doing classes, but I now have scoliosis in my spine and depression and every time I try and get up the courage, I lose my nerve.
But I want to change that. Since getting my autism diagnosis I have been looking at ways I can face some of the things I lost through not having support. Some of that is social and others are things I lost a long time ago, one of which is my love for dance. I want to show the world that you know what, it really is like Lauren was saying on this years strictly “ it’s about ability, not disability”. I have always been intrigued by ballroom and Latin (even before strictly) but never had the courage to do it.
I would love to one day meet you even just to discuss dancing and how it can help others so that maybe I could use the discussion in a blog to help inspire others. If you ever think that is something you would be willing to do that would be great – though I know you are busy and that it is a real long shot.
To let you in on a secret dream as well, I would love to have a lesson with Pasha or Giovanni or even Graziano (obviously new) but I am realistic and know that will never happen.
Dame Darcy, I would like you to keep doing what you are doing. People like me are forgotten in this world. Those of us who have learning, physical and or mental difficulties but honestly with people like you around shining a light on something that I hold dear which is dance and show that it can help those with mental health is amazing. You are a true inspiration and I am glad I finally got the courage to write this letter. Just watching your passion for dance during strictly come dancing, brings out smiles in me I thought I had lost a long time ago.
I am posting this as a blog as I don’t know how to write to you but I know I can share this on Social Media and hope that you see and read my post.