"18 months ago doctors said car crash ballet star would never dance again"
Courage of the Sleeping Beauty
Brave ballerina Karen Smith last night took her first tentative stage steps back towards stardom after doctors said she would never walk again.
It was only a walk on part. But to 32 year old Karen, the lights have never been brighter or the applause so sweet.
Eighteen months ago a car crash left her paralysed from the neck down.
It happened at the pinnacle of her career after she had given an enchanting performance of Sleeping Beauty.
As she lay in agony, with crushed neck vertebrae and bruised spinal cord, doctors feared she might not even walk again, let alone dance.
"My family knew there was little hope but no one told me" she said yesterday. "I wouldn't have believed them anyway"
She left hospital after three months and her progress was astonishing.
Every day Karen works for two hours in teacher Anna Duboisson's class at the Pineapple Dance Studio, Covent Garden. This week came the breakthrough with her walk-on part in the London City Ballet's production of Swan Lake in Bromley, Kent.
Now she is longing for the great day soon when she will dance again. "I was a principal dancer and I will be again," she said.