The world on Thursday celebrated the United Nations-sponsoredInternational Day of Happiness by dancing to the ubiquitous, infectiously upbeat tune, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams, who is the face of the second annual celebration established by the General Assembly. The music, and the accompanying dancing by tens of thousands of people in a host of videos that have gone viral, makes it impossible to be sad.
But in a somewhat more limited but perhaps more inspiring performance, a professional dancer who lost part of her leg in last year’s Boston Marathon bombing gave new meaning to being happy when she returned to the stage doing what she loved most, dancing again.
“I’m thrilled to have danced again,” Adrianne Haslet-Davis said in a statement released after her performance Wednesday at the TED 2014 Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. “I was always determined to dance again, and I knew that I had to, that I would, and here I am.”
Haslet-Davis and her husband, Air Force Maj. Adam Davis, are among the more than 260 people who were injured at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, an event that has been seared into the nation’s memory. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction. More than half the charges carry a possible death sentence.
Boston officials have already announced they are stepping up security for this year’s marathon, which is on Patriots’ Day next month.
But the legal and security issues were far from Haslet-Davis’ mind as she took to the dance floor with partner Christian Lightner to a shortened version of “Ring My Bells” by Enrique Iglesias.
Hugh Herr, director of biomechatronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said at the conference that he started designing the bionic leg specifically for dancing after visiting Haslet-Davis in the hospital. Herr, a double amputee, said he wanted the dancer to be able to make a comeback.
“A human being can never be broken,” Herr said.