At three months old, Frankie Ann Marcille was diagnosed with a visual impairment that classified her as legally blind. At the age of two, Marcil
le began dance lessons. By six, she was performing in “Annie” on the stage at The Garde Arts Center. Today, she is living in New York City, finishing her studies to earn a master’s degree in vision therapy. Marcille boasts these accomplishments in spite of being told that she would never be able to do any of these things.
Dance and theater have been instrumental in shaping Marcille’s confidence and providing her with a lifetime of fulfilling experiences.
“When I was dancing, I never felt different,” said Marcille. “When I was dancing, I felt like everybody else. I worked really hard at it, and I was good at it.”
With her family’s support, Marcille continued performing, dancing at four different studios, and getting her undergraduate degree in theater from Western Connecticut State University.
“(Theater and dancing) didn’t make my blindness go away, but they did make me feel like I had vision, that I was talented, and that I could do things,” said Marcille. “The arts allowed me to accept myself; to embrace my disability, to love myself. The arts allow me to be me.”
Marcille understands that having a disability can be isolating. She can’t drive, read subtitles at the movies, nor see the stage if she gets theater seats too far from the stage. Additionally, Marcille doesn’t fully fit into either the sighted or blind world. Marcille herself says that she is not the stereotype of a blind person and is, in fact, often told that she ‘doesn’t look blind.’
“My disability doesn’t define me,” said Marcille. “But it has made me stronger and more resilient.”
Recently, Marcille has added creative writing to the arts that she finds healing and that sustain her. Leaning Rock Press published her first children’s book, “Yes: the Story of a Dreamer” in 2021.
“It’s been healing for me to write about my experiences. The people who said ‘no,’ who told me I couldn’t do things, didn’t stop me. I’ve been able to do everything I’ve wanted despite my disability.”
Marcille is passionate about sharing her positive message that, yes, you can follow your dreams no matter how many people tell you that you can’t.
“The arts have been the space where I could be myself unapologetically,” said Marcille.
Through her goals to teach, to provide therapy for youth living with blindness, and to continue dancing and acting, Marcille will spread her message while guiding others to live life to their fullest and to say ‘yes’ to their dreams.
Surely, nothing will stop her.
Emma Palzere-Rae is Associate Director for Artreach, Inc. and founder of Be Well Productions. If you have a story about how creativity has helped you heal, please contact [email protected]
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