Mika started dance classes when she was four years old and, thanks to a friend who helped her know where to be on stage, her parents could witness her shine on stage. They made it their mission to make sure their daughter always had a place to perform.
It has not always been easy, though. Mika was born with Down syndrome and a number of dance studios dismissed the chance to have Mika dance with them, missing out on a chance to bring so much to a team where she brings her full heart and soul to the stage.
“I remember the first time I watched her when she was four as really emotional cause I thought you know, wow, she could actually be on stage,” Mika’s father Howie Christianson said.
Along with a lot of studios that did embrace Mika and her abilities has been her high school dance team. Mika worked hard, auditioned for, and made the team.
Her coach, Lindsay Christensen, created an environment for magic to happen and it is one every dancer has embraced.
“I knew if there was ever an opportunity, I would jump at the opportunity to have her with us. There is so much you can learn,” Coach Christensen said. “She’s just like any other teenage girl is. She wants the same things. She goes through the same emotions. And I knew if there was ever an opportunity that I would jump at the moment to have someone with us because there’s so much that you can learn from being around someone like that.”
The team has embraced the opportunity to learn from Mika and help when needed. Coach Christensen asked the girls to go above and beyond normal dance practice and asked for volunteers to work with Mika and several girls gladly offered to help out. The help went further than dance — they opened up a seat at lunch, they attended socials together, and the girls created true friendships with Mika, a connection Coach Christensen had only hoped for her team.
“Teaching is not easy and there are a lot of days its hard to keep going,” Christensen said. “But when Mika came into my life she gave me a new purpose with my job and helped me channel in what my purpose is as a coach and the bigger things I want to teach the kids, more than just dance.”
Mika’s soul truly comes through in her dance. She lights up the room and the stage and she wants people to know it is centered around being kind to others and sharing light with those around you.
“Always have a good perspective of people and be nice to everyone,” Mika said. “I feel like everyone has been nice and it’s a good world. Always have a good time with others. Always have a light to share with anyone.”