“Oh, I almost forgot,” Ms Jaiyana says, during our next water break. “I got a great deal on KT tape in the colours for our show.”

“Purple?” I ask. Kinesiology tape is like a kind of sticking plaster, and helps support and protect my soft tissues and fascia, along with my stressed-out muscles. But because Olympians and other athletes use it, the stuff comes in an array of fabulous colours and designs, not just boring medical beige and black. I wish all mobility aids and braces were so cool.

“Bree,” Ms Jaiyana replies, “you know purple is my favourite colour, but we are sticking to white, black and red for the show.” She holds up a wicked roll of tape: white, with black swirls all over it, like some crazy tattoos. “What do you think?”

“I want, I want,” Zintle says, bouncing up and down so high a kangaroo would be proud. Nothing wrong with her legs; the birth defects only affected her arms.

Manesi laughs. “You don’t even use KT tape.”

“Maybe its time?” She rubs her right shoulder with her left stump, and the tiny fingers on her unusually small right arm wiggle. “Ah, yeah, bit stiff. I should totally try it.”

We all bust up laughing, as Ms Jaiyana shakes her head. “Only if your mama says it’s okay.” She looks at the rest of us, “For those who already use it, get your roll from me at the end of class, okay?”

We all nod or smile, and she picks up her phone. “Right, we’re doing the first number with music now.”

Zintle runs behind my chair, taking her place. Music comes on, and it feels like it is running through my veins, electrifying me into action. Such a rush! The two of us start going from side to side, keeping to the beat. She’s my big tick to my little tock, as she rocks behind me. She’s got powerful legs, that allow her to do all kinds of amazing moves.

“Good, good,” Ms Jaiyana says, and reminds some of the others of where they should be. We’re moving, laughing, working hard. As I look into the mirror, I find myself grinning. The choreography looks great. Like every single one of us is supposed to be here.

I don’t often get to feel like that.

For example, every year my school does a ‘Winter Show’, which is really a ‘Christmas Show’ by another name. Every year, we sing carols. Every year, my fellow classmates go up on the stage and stand on the risers. Every year I have to park below, to the side of the stage, because even if there was a ramp to get on to the stage (there isn’t) the risers take up too much room for my chair to squeeze in. So every year, I’m off to the side, like an afterthought, nowhere near a microphone.

I hate it. But Ma makes me take part; says skipping it is letting society win.

I don’t know about that. But what I do know is, I love being part of this dance crew. Here, I’m not an afterthought.

Ms Jaiyana has even booked us to perform in a venue where the stage has a ramp. Three weeks from now, I’ll be right there, on a stage, dancing with everyone else.

Exactly how it should be.


Tell us: Do you think Bree’s mom should force her to take part in the Christmas show, without being on the stage? Why or why not?