Tiffany Geigel never expected to become a dancer. Born with a rare, genetic bone disorder called Jarcho-Levin Syndrome, Geigel resigned herself that it wasn't possible for someone like her to become a ballerina. Her disease causes a curving of the spine and a shortening of the neck. Not qualities looked for in a professional dancer. Geigle remembers when her dance teacher let her know, telling People Magazine:
I didn’t think it was something that was possible. My dance teacher was like, ‘You have the technique, you have the legs and the arms and you’re beautiful.’ But the reality is you don’t look like what the ballet world wants.' I knew I wasn’t being lied to. I know how it is. I was like, ‘I would love to be a ballerina.’ But I knew it wasn’t realistic.
Sometimes reality is overrated. Geigel describes how she gave up on dance and then found her way back.
I saw myself working on Wall Street or something. I didn’t pursue [dancing] because I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t go on auditions. I wasn’t planning on being a performer. It wasn’t in my mind.
But then a decision to change her major back to dance in the hopes of simply being a dance teacher, changed everything.
Since I did that, it led me to where I am now. [My dance teacher] hired me and it snowballed into something else.
Things grew from there. In 2014 Geigel accepted an offer to join Heidi Latsky's dance group, based in New York City. The company is integrated to include dancers with disabilities. Now, Geigel dances two shows a day during the spring season.
I never thought I would be in a dance company in New York City performing ever. I never thought my photo, my face and body would be plastered in Times Square. All the things I never thought would happen, they’re happening!