Teenager with Down syndrome is winning audiences everywhere she goes
Fifteen-year-old Divya Shankar from Ernakulam, Kerala was diagnosed with Down syndrome at a young age. But that has not stopped her from chasing her dreams of becoming a dancer. Divya has performed at over 30 venues. Her biggest support system is her family who ensures that Divya follows her dreams.
For Divya Shankar dance is a passion which she has been pursuing since childhood. A disability has not stopped this 15-year-old from chasing her dreams. A trained and professional dancer, Divya who is from Ernakulam, has performed at over 30 venues. With lots of love and support from her family, Divya is gearing up scale bigger heights and take her love for dance to the next level.
Divya was born as a premature baby and had many health complications at the time of birth. After a few months, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome and that shattered her parents Rajeswari and Sankaranarayanan. But they were not ready to give up. They looked out for the best therapies for their daughter. That is when Divya’s doctor suggested the family to introduce her to art, especially dance.
During her early years, Divya could not express herself at all. In fact, she did not have any facial expressions. That is when her doctor told us to introduce her to dance so that they can learn expressions. Dance worked like magic on Divya. She started expressing better and overall, dance has done many wonders. We would suggest dance therapy to all children with disabilities. – Rajeswari, Divya’s mother
Divya is currently studying in class 9 at a government school. According to her doctor, that was the best way to train her to live in an inclusive society. “Being in an inclusive school has helped her a lot. The teachers and her classmates are very supportive of her and she has been studying there since past nine years. It is a government rule that a disabled child must be admitted in regular schools”, says Rajeswari.
Divya is trained in classical dances including Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyttam. She is undergoing training at Amritavani dance school under guidance of her teacher Seema Kannan. Rajeswari has ensured that she stays at home with Divya to make sure that her daughter gets nothing lesser than the best. “We have ensured that she lives like a normal child. We have never kept her aside. She loves to spend time with people and we all go together for social gatherings too”, says Rajeswari.
Divya’s biggest supporter is her brother Sarath who recently completed his engineering course. A trained singer, Divya and Sarath together performs at various venues. “Since childhood, I used to sing to her and she dances beautifully to my tunes. I noticed that Divya was passionate about dance since a very young age. As a brother, I wanted to support her throughout”, says Sarath.
Divya wants to different types of dance forms and even start a dance school of her own. She hopes to make her mark in the art form very soon.