My Dance Journey | Eric Graise

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Hello, my name is
Eric Graise
and this is my dance journey.My disability has always
been part of my life.I was born with a missing bone
in both of my legs,
the fibula,and I had them amputated
when I was a small kid. Being a double-leg amputee,
you hear a lot of things. You have a lot of people
who have a lot of opinions about what you can do
and what you can’t do.But when I was a little kid,
I used to jump around
and move around my room,
especially to music, but I had no idea
I was dancing.So, I would spend years
watching YouTube videos,
um, watching
“So You Think You Can Dance,”
and I would just, honestly,
I would just cry.You know, it was the one thingthat I thought I wouldn’t
be able to do well, or at least eventually strive
to do well, and that’s important to me
as an artist.So, while I was
a theater major,
one of my professors wanted
to show me a videoand there was an amputee.And he wasn’t wearing
and the characters
and the movement in it
all centered around him
and his movement
and how he interacted
in the world.
Oh, man, it blew my mind.So, after I graduate college,I audition for a company
entitled Full Radius Dance. And they are an integrated
dance company with people with disabilitiesand people who don’t
have disabilities.
I took a chance and they took
a chance on me, and you know,
here I am today, and it’s been amazing. They honestly changed
my life. I wouldn’t be sitting
here today if it wasn’t for that company. I spent so much time
trying to imitate people who weren’t disabled.But I learned that I could
live in it and love myself
and show the world,
like, who I am
and not be afraid
to do that.That’s when the door
sort of opened up.
That’s when everything
started to make sense and that’s when I got the call
for “Step Up.”It was for a character
named King
and he was this disabled
characterwho was a DJ,
a singer, a rapper,
um, all these
different things, and just, it was totally
reflective of my life, which is crazy. I thought I’d never see
anything that was writtenfor me with such detail.It was really a dream come true. ♪♪ ♪♪


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