Gabriel O’Connell, 15 years old, Dazzling Dance, Wellington
Dazzling Dance Workshop, Kapiti Wellington
Meet Gabriel and Elle, two of our Wellington Jammers who share a very special story. Gabriel and Elle (pictured above) have known each other since they were just one month old, however it was only recently that they properly reconnected as they now both attend school and StarJam together. Gabriel and Elle both attend the Dazzling Dance workshop in Kapiti on Wednesday evenings, where they meet up with their fellow Jammers, wonderful tutor Marisol and dedicated volunteers Sarah, Sophie and Fiona.
“Before Gabriel started StarJam at the beginning of this year, he would not have had the confidence to get up and perform in front of people”, says his mum Carmen.
However, through their common interest of music and dance, Gabriel and Elle have formed a special friendship and have become amazing dance partners which is just beautiful to watch! Towards the end of the workshop for the Spot the Talent section, Gabriel and Elle often perform as a duo and dance together in front of their workshop.
The trust, respect, and warmth they share while dancing together is truly heart-warming and something that is celebrated every week at StarJam. As Gabriel’s mum Carmen says,
“StarJam is a place that Gabriel feels so comfortable to be who he truly is with people that do not judge or stare but only encourage and celebrate who he is as a person, thank you. This experience has given him confidence for sure, which has been marvellous to watch and also moves other people which has been so beautiful”.
By Susannah Potts, Regional Programmes Coordinator, Wellington