Rolling with it.
I can't believe how quickly time is flying, and am so grateful that we're finally over and done with 2020 - it was a tough one! Sure, things didn't magically turn around when we hit 12:00 AM on January 1st, but it was the light some of us needed to be able to officially say goodbye to a year that threw punch after punch.
One good thing that did happen when the clock struck midnight is we got to switch to our new 2021 Badass Ladies calendars! These blogs have been trickling out a bit slower than I had hoped, but I'm learning a ton about how to organize this part of the process as I move forward. Thank you for your patience, and for coming back often to learn about these inspirational ladies.
Backtracking to the middle of last year, I was brainstorming for my list of potential 2021 Badass Ladies, and came to the point in my process where I typically reach out to a few trusty friends to see if there's anyone else I should add to the research pile. One of these friends works in creative content for her company, which means she has the opportunity to work first hand with a lot of amazing people and learn all about them and their work. Expecting a quick text back, I was surprised when my phone started ringing. She was calling to tell me about Chelsie Hill.
While there are many differences as well as common themes to the collective group of Badass Ladies, when I step back and look at them as a whole, I can't help but acknowledge the amount of passion that exists within these remarkable womxn. It's the heartfelt commitment for something that lit the flame, moved mountains, and pushed them each to do, and continue to work towards, remarkable things. For Chelsie, this great love is dance. When, at the age of seventeen, her passion was threatened, the fire didn't extinguish, but blazed larger.
As a senior in high school, Chelsie was a passenger in a drunk driving accident that left her unable to walk due to irreversible damage to her spinal cord. During her recovery, she struggled with the concept that this new obstacle might impact her ability to follow her dream of dancing and could erase that important piece of her life altogether. She refused to let that become a reality. During a time that could have felt solitary, she met other differently-abled women, began building a dance community, and Rollettes wheelchair dance team was born.
Newly determined, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her ambition of becoming a professional dancer, where she began training within notable dance studios, but it wasn't lost on her that she was always the only wheelchair dancer in her classes. The Rollette's continued to grow, and through them, Chelsie found a larger purpose as a voice for the disability community. She shares her story of pushing through adversity, works to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries, and shines a light on inclusion in entertainment, fashion, and beauty.
Over time, the Rollettes have expanded globally, and Chelsie has launched the Rollettes Experience, a weekend-long event designed to bring together female wheelchair users from all over the world to participate in seminars, workshops, and, most importantly, dance. She didn't even let Covid get in the way of this past year's event, and hosted a Virtual Live Experience with special guests Ali Stroker and Judy Heumann! My favorite quote: "Dance is dance—whether you're walking or rolling. It doesn't see disability."
This is just a snapshot of the amazing work that Chelsie is doing, and I wholeheartedly recommend giving her a follow on instagram, here.