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Amputation left me without a leg but my new dance moves went viral

When the video ended, I went onstage and put down my crutches. I danced a choreographed routine we prepared in record time. My movements harmonized with the music. Throughout the performance, I kept my balance, dancing on one leg. The audience could not believe their eyes.

  • 3 weeks ago
  • January 19, 2023
6 min read
After losing a leg in an accident, professional salsa dancer finds her balance and begins dancing again Andreyna Hernández | Photo courtesy of Andreyna Hernández
Interview Subject
Andreyna Hernández boasts nearly a half million followers on TikTok. A Venezuelan professional dancer who specialized in casino salsa, she won many awards throughout her career. Then, in 2017, she suffered an accident. When a tree fell on her, the doctors had to amputate her left leg. Little by little, she began dancing again and discovered she had the balance to keep going.

After her dance company presented her story and she danced on stage for the first time, her videos went viral. Through social media, she reached many people and now dedicates herself to content creation and helping others. Andreyna has two daughters, and her partner runs a dance school in Venezuela.
Background Information
Watch the full video of Andreyna’s debut with her dance company after the accident on YouTube. If necessary, you can enable auto translations captions in English or other languages.

Salsa is a set of Afro-Caribbean rhythms fused with jazz and other styles. Its birth has been much debated, but it is known to come from a fusion carried out by the inhabitants of the Caribbean when they listened to European music and then mixed it with their drums.

CARACAS, Venezuela ꟷ Six years ago, a tree fell on me outside the dance company where I worked. I lost my leg to amputation. My entire life, I dedicated myself to dance and now I wondered, would I ever dance again?

Little by little, I resumed the activity, but no one knew. Then, one day, my dance company organized an event on my behalf. A video played on screen in front of hundreds of people. My life flashed before my eyes as I watched pivotal moments before and after the accident. So many feelings arose inside me, as I relived those scenes.

When the video ended, I went onstage and put down my crutches. I danced a choreographed routine we prepared in record time. My movements harmonized with the music. Throughout the performance, I kept my balance, dancing on one leg. The audience could not believe their eyes.

When the routine ended, people rose from their seats, clapping and shouting. Some of them did not even know me, but they cried. I felt chills all over my body.

A tree crashed down and trapped me

When I was at work one day, my partner, some friends, and I sat outside the dance academy after class. Suddenly, a dying tree began to fall. Those who heard the cracking limbs shouted a warning. People began running and I tried to get up. Sitting on the ground with my legs crossed, all I managed to do was place my hands on the ground and straighten my legs. The tree crashed down and trapped me.

Read inspiring stories about people thriving with disabilities at Orato World Media.

With my legs underneath the huge trunk, I could not move. Right away, I knew I would lose my limbs. Neighbors rushed over to help, lifting the tree from my legs. A rescuer from the fire department lived nearby. He saw I lost a lot of blood, so he gave me first aid and made a tourniquet.

I remained conscious all the way to the hospital, but could hear little of what happened around me. I felt like my mind and body went into auto-mode. Just before they sent me in for surgery, my body went cold, and I felt severe pain. Through my suffering, something inside me kept saying I would lose my limbs. Frankly, I felt shocked I even had them at all.

Two days later, I awoke to learn the doctors did everything possible in those hours of unconsciousness to save both of my legs. The left leg suffered the worst damage, and my family made the excruciating decision to approve amputation. They had to, to save my life.

One day, a song came on and my partner asked me to dance

I slipped into a depression, constantly asking myself questions like, “Why did this happen? What will I do with my life? Would I ever dance again? Could I even lead a normal life or take care of my young daughter?”

After the amputation, my mother told me the news and I took it in stride. I even tried calming her down when I saw her cry. Still groggy from anesthesia, I went back to sleep. When I awoke from the long recovery process, I began to understand what happened, and reason kicked in.

Thankfully, my family and friends never left me alone. I went home after two months in the hospital, frightened. I never wanted to be by myself. The right leg suffered multiple fractures and it took a long time to recover. People stayed with me until I could support myself on one leg. It took courage to begin doing things on my own.

Throughout that time, I never considered going back to dance. I blocked it from my mind. My partner owns the dance academy, so I stuck to administrative tasks, but I felt frustrated. I watched everyone dance, and I could not. To keep the depression at bay, I knew I needed to do something, so I took up sports. I started swimming and my muscles grew stronger and stronger.

One day, when a song came on, my partner invited me to dance. “Let’s just try and see how it goes,” he said. He would often ask, “How do you feel?” Little by little, as we tested it out, we discovered I had balance. He always made me feel safe. Soon, I started dancing well on one leg.

Finding meaning in second chances and dancing despite the odds

When we decided to setup the project for my big reveal, nobody knew I had begun dancing again. In three days, we prepared all the choreography. The theater where the event would be, sold out. After the video played of my life, and I made my way to the stage and danced, people watched in utter surprise.

I showed them my ability to dance beautifully on one leg despite my amputation. The moment became a unique and special one for everybody. Someone recorded it all and the video went viral. The media soon broke the story and people flocked to my social media accounts, to show their support and admiration. Today I have almost a half million followers on Tik Tok.

My life inspires others. People write to me to ask for advice or to thank me for being their motivation. Despite being a dancer who lost a leg, I feel complete and happy. I keep doing what I love; what I feel passionate about.

Dancing remains part of my very nature. To know I can continue dancing even though I experienced amputation fills me with happiness. I thank God for my second chance at life.

Translation Disclaimer

Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.

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