A stray bullet crushed Iraly Yaneza's aspirations of becoming a professional dancer eight years ago  as it ruptured two of her vertebrae and left her paraplegic.

But now the young Venezuelan dancer is pursuing her lifelong passion in a wheelchair - and hoping to put her career back on track - thanks to a contemporary dance company that is helping disabled people perform.

Caracas based AM Danza works with 50 young Venezuelans who are pursuing their passion for dance despite limitations like broken spine, cerebral palsy, Sown syndrome or blindness.

Yanez, 34, joined the group three months ago and recently performed in her wheelchair in an emotional hour-long show that the dance troupe put for its followers.

''This is an opportunity of a lifetime,'' Yanez said after the contemporary review, ''Ubuntu,''  was held one of the  Venezuelan  capital's most prestigious  theatres. ''I can't allow external issues to affect me any longer.''

During the show, disabled dancers performed alongside fully abled professional dancers to demonstrate that art knows no barriers. Some member of the audience shed tears.

Dancers with limited mobility in their legs lifted their crutches in the air in unison. A dancer hoisted  Yanez  from the wheelchair and lifted her above her shoulders to perform complex moves.

''Dancing is all about passion'' said AM Danza's director, Alexander Mandriz. ''You have to enjoy your possibilities and use your body to express emotions.

Madriz has worked for two decades with dancers who have disabilities and says that thanks to them he has learned that corporal expression has no limits

''Not everything has to be the perfect lines with symmetry that you see in contemporary classical dance,'' he said.

Madriz, 47, said the  students love for dance has helped them overcome the numerous obstacles faced by disabled people in Venezuela, where public transport is still mostly inaccessible to people on wheelchairs and ramps on sidewalks and public buildings are few and far between. [Agencies]


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