We fell in love with this little ballerina who dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matching the steps of the professional Australian ballet dancer whose image is seen in the video’s lower corner. They both raise and lower their arms in the style of a life-size dancing doll, whirling and turning in accordance with the steps of the 19th century comic ballet, “Coppelia.”
It’s an impressive feat for any 10-year-old- girl, but it’s quite amazing for Clara because she is autistic and also has DiGeorge syndrome, a genetic disorder that often affects development. Her mother, Lisa Anderson of Toronto, told TODAY that Clara spent almost the entire first 16 months of her life in the hospital. She walked at age 5, spoke at 6, breathed through a tracheostomy until she was 6 and still relies on a gastrostomy tube for nourishment. But she was always determined to fight through her challenges. “We knew that she no longer needed her trach when she kept pulling it out and throwing it away in the park, on the sidewalk, in the lake,” Anderson told TODAY. Clara has been taking ballet lessons for three years, her mother says, and has also studied piano. She comes by her artistic interests naturally — Anderson studied piano performance and Clara’s father, Roger, is a composer, music director and composition teacher. Still, no one expected her to have so completely mastered the complex dance.