Sydney Mesher is breaking barriers in the professional dance industry

Sydney Mesher is a professional dancer, a Radio City Rockette and a model from Portland, Ore.

Mesher was born without her left hand due to the rare congenital condition symbrachydactyly.

“My parents found out that I was going to be born with one hand in the second trimester, and so they were able to figure out how they wanted to raise me and they raised me in the best way possible,” Mesher told In The Know. “And that’s just accepting that this is who I am and that does not make me any less of a person.” 

Regardless of the effects of symbrachydactyly, Mesher’s parents put her in dance classes and Mesher fell in love with it.

“My parents put me into dance class at a really young age because I had so much energy and they said that I started dancing before I could walk,” she said. “I knew at a certain point this is what I was going to do for the rest of my life.” 

When Mesher was 4 years old, her father read a local newspaper article about Nicole Jamieson, the star basketball player of a local girl’s high school who also was born with one hand. He drove Mesher 200 miles to see Jamieson play. Mesher danced to music as she watched. 

“Inclusivity and visibility [are] really, really important in the entertainment industry,” she said.

Being a young athlete required Mesher to give undivided dedication to dance. She’d work until late evenings and attended a performing art school to get in extra hours of training during the day. Needless to say, she didn’t have much time for friends or sleep.

But in 2019, Mesher made her debut as a Radio City Rockette, the first member of the group to have a visible disability in its 94-year history. 

“I think that we just need representation in all sorts of ways, not only with limb differences but with diversity and a different range of disabilities,” Mesher said. “Everyone should be able to have a role model that they connect with.” 

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If you liked this story, check out this article on Shelby Lynch, a Gen Z model with spinal muscular atrophy.

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