For one mother, her daughter's dancing dream turned into her worst nightmare after an injury during class left the six-year-old girl paralysed.
The girl, known only as Tongtong, sustained an injury during a dance class in Henan, China, on Oct 6 and lost control of her lower body after an instructor pushed against her leg to widen her split, according to media reports.
CCTV footage of the incident showed Tongtong lying on the floor as an instructor pushed her left leg above her head. While Tongtong was still able to walk immediately after the split, she was limping and visibly unsteady. After a while, she made several attempts to stand up but could not move her legs.
Her instructors noticed then that something was wrong and tried to help her up, but Tongtong's legs would not hold her weight.
Tongtong was taken to a hospital where doctors diagnosed her with a spinal cord injury.
Since the incident, Tongtong, who had been attending dance lessons for two years, has not been able to walk.
Her mother, known only as Li, told reporters in Mandarin, "Doctors told me not to be too hopeful. They said she has a two in three chance of remaining paralysed unless a miracle happens. "
According to Li, Tongtong may have sustained a minor injury from a backbend move that the class had been practicing earlier that day which worsened after she was forced to do a split.
A spokesperson for the dance academy, known only as Wang, told reporters, "For this situation to occur in a normal lesson, I think the child may have had some underlying problems."
"We paid for all of the child's initial medical costs out of goodwill but it will be difficult to continue doing that in the future," said Wang.
Li claimed that the dance studio had been helpful when Tongtong was first injured but had stopped visiting and taking her calls as soon as it became apparent that the girl's condition was not improving.
"She used to love dancing. As a parent, I did my best to support her. Now she may not ever stand up or dance again."