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Silvina, Dancer

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© from the text Silvina the dancer: Eva Latonda 2011 © from the illustrations: Maru García, 2011

About Down´s Syndrome

Your body is formed by millions of cells

Each one of them contains a gene, which is like a big book of instructions.

And all of those genes are made up of chromosomes that are like the letters of the book.

Sometimes it can occur that the chromosomes are muddled in pair 21 and there are more than are meant to be there.

This is what we call Down´s Syndrome. Children born with this syndrome have recognizable features, even though at the same time they are very different amongst themselves; they can be are taller, shorter, skinnier , or fatter....

Their eyes are a bit slanted and their faces are like a beautiful round star.

Although they learn a bit slower, they laugh, cry, grow and dream, just like you and the rest of us.

This is a very, very special story about a girl with Down´s Syndrome called Silvina.

Hello, my name is Silvina, I know that Silvina is not a very common name but then everyone keeps telling me that I am also not a very common girl.

Also, Silvina rhymes with ballerina and this is not a coincidence because dancing is one of the things that I like the most, although it is not the only thing that I am good at...

Since I was in my mummy's tummy, I danced and danced without taking a break as if I was a mermaid in the middle of the sea...

Plies, relevés, entrechats, leaping in arabesque, and assambles and most of all piques ... a lot of piques that are my favourite turns.

And these are very difficult turns, but so beautiful and graceful. When I do them, I look like a butterfly.

My poor mother accepted with resignation the hops, the leaps, the jumps and the pushes...

It is well known that the LOVE OF A MOTHER can deal with everything.

Julia is my mother's name and I have always thought it was beautiful because it tastes like summer and holidays.

In fact, the first time my mother saw me we were on holiday, at like the fourth month of pregnancy.

They took a photomicrography of me (a very, very, very small photo) and discovered that I had an extra chromosome.

“She has trisomy in the 21st pair” the doctors said a bit solemnly.

Daddy and mummy were worried at the beginning,

but then they found out more about what it meant and they got everything ready to welcome me as I deserved.

And they did it really well because my arrival was so much talked about that the commotion of flowers, laughter, hugs and kisses is still around the house... Grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins... Friends, pets, neighbours... All waiting for me!

Since then I have had so much love and affection surrounding me that sometimes it feels like it is not going to fit inside , so to prevent it from falling out of me all over the place, I share it out in every


With the help of my teacher, I improve the steps every day.

We are now working on flexibility, stretching and


She says that my muscles are always relaxed and that for me to dominate the dance:

“It is essential to improve and strengthen your physique, Silvina”

And this is frustrating because the exercise routine is so hard...

But I don't mind the effort if I can become like my greatest heroines... Isadora Duncan, Anna Pavlova, Margot Fonteyn, Maya Plisetskaya...

Ah! And their characters in stories and fairy tales:

Gissele, Coppelia, Odette, Julieta…

Although, I have to confess something... this is not my true dream.

Would you like me to tell you my real dream?

You see... It turns out that Pati also comes to class, a girl like me, but a few years older. She is very shy and although she dances wonderfully, she gets very embarrassed.

With my help and her effort she has discovered that she loves dancing as much as I do. We are now working so that the steps that I invent can be seen on stage. And who better to do it than her, my best friend?

And this is my dream, for us to one day dance together.

A beautiful dance for two...

I also think about being able to this with all the people who love dancing as much as I do...

I will be their dance teacher and I will teach them to enjoy the applause as it should be.

The End

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