Dyslexia is one of the most commonly reported learning disabilities with many greats such as the likes of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso thought to have been afflicted by it.
In the UAE alone, more than 18 per cent of students exhibit symptoms consistent with the disorder, as reported by a 2011 study published by UAE University.
Despite its prevalence and the tribulations that come with it, in no way is this condition a deficit and 29-year-old professional dancer and choreographer, Carmel Bondswell is just another prime example of it.
Bondswell followed in her mother’s footsteps, who was also a professional dancer, and began her dance training from an early age and graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance at North Greenwich University in London in contemporary ballet.
She possessed a strong passion for the artform, but her journey was riddled with challenges and the biggest one of all was dealing with dyslexia.
In Bondswell’s case, the condition did not only affect her ability to read and write, but hampered her dance training the most.
“I began to notice the effects mostly during my dance training, I was struggling more than others, to remember choreography, picking up patterns in space and even knowing my left to right,” Bondswell told Sport360.
“When I received my results from my dyslexia test even the examiner was surprised that I chose to study dance as it challenged all areas of my life. So, it was no wonder I found it hard and most people would have given up.”
There were no specific tools that helped Bondswell cope with her condition, but it was a mix of trial and error, along with a solid social support network of her family and friends that made her the dancer she is today.
The 29-year-old has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry and even has her own Dubai-based dance company called Home Sweet Dance.
“I have learnt to live with my dyslexia, there is no easy solution to fixing it, you learn to be patient and persistent as you just have to keep working on it and become creative finding new ways for yourself to work things out,” said Bondswell.
“Even now starting a business I constantly question myself, if this is the right spelling and grammar, but I am thankful for the love and support from family and friends who have been around me to help every step.”
Moreover, it was also Bondswell’s overwhelming passion for contemporary dance that helped her push through.
As described by Bondswell, contemporary dance is a dance form that is made in the present and has an adaptable style. It is not learning a syllabus of moves and putting them together, but allows for a creative exploration of one’s space and bodily movement to create a unique piece.
For this reason, Bondswell continues her journey of learning and adapting as a contemporary dancer, and has helped her students tremendously with their confidence, flexibility and strength.
You can join Carmel Bondswell’s infectiously energetic contemporary dance classes at either James and Alex Dance studio in Media City every Tuesday at 8pm and Saturday at 1:30pm for all levels.
She also teaches beginner’s contemporary dance at The Pad Dubai in The Greens and Views every Sunday at 11am and Thursday 6pm. For more information on her classes, you can email her on [email protected]
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