Orange County Register

Another Way to Move

After a serious accident, Katie Estrella Dances a Different Way

Cal State Fullerton student Katie Estrella was introduced to tap dancing when she was 2; she became captivated by the form of dance and continued participating in lessons from that point forward. Even a serious accident didn’t stop Estrella from participating in dance – she simply had to learn to dance in a different way.

When Estrella was 11, she was in a horse-riding accident that left her paralyzed in her legs and lower body.

“For the first two to three years, I was self-conscious and nervous to try any-thing,” Estrella said of life after her accident.

While she dabbled in some extracurricular activities, it wasn’t until she met Chelsie Hill at an abilities expo in 2012 that she realized being in a wheelchair didn’t eliminate her ability to participate on a dance team, it just meant she had to find another way to dance.

“It was different because I wasn’t used to dancing with my upper body a whole lot,” Estrella said.

Hill founded the Walk & Roll Foundation, a volunteer organization in Seaside that works to raise awareness for spinal cord injury.

The foundation organizes and puts on wheelchair dance performances at school and community events, and also offers speaking engagements.

“I think for me, it was a form of emotional therapy,” Estrella, now 20, said of joining the foundation three years ago. Continue reading.

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