Amy Purdy May Feel “Only Human,” but Clearly She is So Much More

It’s not every day you see a piece about dance that includes the phrases:

* ” ‘We have Wonder Woman in this room, I’m telling you!’ gushed Bruno Tonioli, one of the show’s judges.”

* “Bio-mechanical engineers will tell you transcendence is here already.  Bionics is not only about making people stronger and faster, says Herr: Our expression, our humanity can       be embedded into biomechanics.’ ”


*  “Bodies are temporary; dreams don’t have to be. It’s not science fiction: As Purdy and Hough and other resilient innovators show us, transcendence is within reach of all of us.”

Amy Purdy is a double amputee.  A competition snow boarder, she lost her legs and nearly her life to meningitis at age 19.  Yet on May 21st, she came in second on “Dancing With the Stars” with her bionic legs and indomitable artistry.  She was clearly the crowd favorite to win it all.

How should we feel about this cyborg in our midst?

Amy Purdy
Perhaps Sarah Kaufman got it eloquently right in The Washington Post: “Amy Purdy’s bionic grace on ‘Dancing With the Stars ” April 11, 2014.

The core issue is not whether or not she is augmented.  The question is whether the technology she’s embraced has made her more or less human.  Yes, she proudly calls herself a “fembot.” But, as Kaufman writes, “She has more honest expression in her body than the other contestants have with their full complement of fleshy parts….  The poignancy, emotion and beauty of her dancing can leave you breathless.”


“I am not my legs,” says Purdy.
“We are such stuffs as dreams are made on,” wrote Shakespeare.


See her dance to “I Am Only Human” and see if you don’t find yourself reach for the Kleenex:

amy purdy dancing
Watch Amy Purdy Dancing to “I Am Only Human” on Dancing with the Stars.

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