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Dancer Is a First for the Rockettes

Sydney Mesher was born with one hand
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 23, 2019 3:55 PM CST
Dancer Is a First for the Rockettes
Mesher, center right, takes part in a rehearsal at the Rockettes' rehearsal space in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

(Newser) – A dancer born with one hand is the first person with a visible disability ever hired by New York's famed Radio City Rockettes. "I don't want to be known as the dancer who has one hand, and not because that's a bad thing," said Sydney Mesher, who joined the Rockettes this season, "but because I've worked very hard to be where I am." Mesher, 22, is missing a left hand because of symbrachydactyly, a rare congenital condition, the AP reports. The Pace University graduate from Portland, Oregon, was hired by the Rockettes after her fourth audition. She said she has been "mesmerized" by the troupe, which dates to 1925, ever since first seeing them on TV in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Rockettes creative director Karen Keeler called Mesher "an incredibly versatile dancer with a strong work ethic." Mesher said she started dancing as a child and attended a performing arts high school. In the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, audiences caught up in the show might not notice that she has one hand, even where there are minor modifications to the act to accommodate her disability. In a number in which the Rockettes ring a bell in each hand, she rings just one. "There's a lot of history and a legacy that comes with this job," Mesher said, per Newsday. "It's not about being a soloist up on that stage. It's about being a part of something bigger, a company. I’m so proud to be here." The Radio City Christmas Spectacular runs through Jan. 5.

(Read more disability stories.)

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