Legally Blind South Florida Teen Fulfills Dancing Dreams

Being legally blind isn't keeping one South Florida teenager from doing what she loves, dancing.

"I like dancing because I love feeling the music. I love the feeling of moving with your body, just feeling free," 16-year-old Elisa Lastra told NBC 6.

Lastra feels and hears the music when she dances but she glimpses only shadows, dancing in the solitude of darkness.

"When I'm dancing I can't see the audience. I can't see the judges. All I see are lights. Not even, I just see a glare from my glasses," she said.

Lastra is legally blind. The 16-year-old was diagnosed with cataracts and glaucoma when she was less than a year old and has gone through 50 surgeries on her eyes. She's battled a lot but when she's on stage all fears subside, even when she stumbles.

"I see like other strong dancers there that have like full vision and then there's me with one eye and I just go on there and I'm like, 'I'm gonna do this,'" she said. "I just remind myself that I'm as strong as any other person and I can do what I want and if I try hard enough, I'll get it. So I just dance, I hope for the best."

"She doesn't see herself as a person with a disability and she doesn't want to be treated any differently," mother Tania Lastra said.

Elisa's mom has watched her push through every step and challenge, even those that seemed impossible.

"They asked her 'do you want us to tell the judges that you're legally blind or that you have a disability?' and right away she said 'no, don't tell them anything. I'm a normal person, I'm just going to go out and dance. I don't want any extra points or anything like that because I'm legally blind,'" Tania Lastra said.

Nothing stops Lastra and she's an inspiration to all who dance alongside her.

"And she rarely ever said 'Miss Barbie I can't see, can you show me again?' She would figure it out," said instructor Barbie Ruiz, at All Access Dance Studio. "Of course I was super scared for her and her falling and tripping and someone bumping into her. She proved me very wrong, very very wrong. She was like, I mean, to the point that I would forget that I had a child in my class that could not see anything."

Lastra may not ever be able to see but she knows what she wants her future to look like.

"I want to go to college. I want to go to University. I really want to be a doctor, pediatrician," she said. "Even if I lose my vision completely, I'm still gonna go for my dreams. I'm never gonna stop dancing."

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