LONDON — Zimbabwe’s breakdance king uses a wheelchair yet he and his dance troop have won prizes for their very physical, athletic dancing.
When Blessing Fire was born in Zimbabwe, he was told by doctors that he would never be able to walk like a “normal child”.
But no-one said anything about breakdancing.
The exceptional dancer uses crutches or a wheelchair to move long distances but he is able to walk.
His brother’s gymnastics inspired him to take up breakdancing and now he dances in an award-winning crew.
“When I was born there was no hope for me to stand or walk like any other normal child,” Blessing said.
“So I was put in a wheel chair at a very young age.”
But he is now a full-time dancer, and he teaches dance and judges a local dance competition.
Blessing Fire is also known by his dance name Beat Boy Crystals. But his future did not always look quite so happy.
“My brother’s a professional gymnast. I used to watch and then I would try to copy what he was doing,” he said.
But because of the limitations on his legs, he couldn’t copy all the moves perfectly.
His parents were concerned that walking could damage his legs, because his right knee had a metal pin attached to keep his leg together.
He was not supposed to walk long distances and he was supposed to be on crutches or in wheel chair. But Blessing’s will to walk, dance and experience the world was too strong to contain.
“I wanted to walk but I also wanted to dance. It was the only thing that gave me a lot of joy and peace inside of me,” he said.
“So I would sneak out and go practice. When I went home my legs would hurt. I couldn’t sleep at night my legs were so sore.
“But because I wanted to dance so bad I didn’t care if I broke them, they were damaged anyway. I just had to do this,” he said.
And all of his hard work and tenacity paid off. Blessing now teaches dance and none of his students have disabilities.
He and his company have even won several regional and local awards for dance.
“If you want something you have to go for it and you have to keep believing,” he said.