Pollyanna Hope, a 16-year-old ballerina who only has one leg, stars in and narrates a new Toyota TV advert, Beautiful Movement, that launches today (31 January), in the UK and across Europe.
The advert is the latest in Toyota’s Start Your Impossible campaign which celebrates the company’s partnership with the Olympic and Paralympic Games and communicates its mission to encourage mobility for all.
The advert can be viewed here: Beautiful Movement.
Pollyanna’s story shows how people can realise their potential and achieve their impossible. In 2007, when just two years old, she lost her leg in a bus crash that also claimed the life of her grandmother Elizabeth and left her mother Sarah with life changing injuries.
Since that day Pollyanna has undergone around 20 surgical procedures and used 25 different prosthetic legs, many provided by the NHS, as she has grown up. Her injury notwithstanding, Pollyanna has become a ballet dancer and now uses a new special prosthetic leg made for her by Dorset Orthopaedic fixed in the en pointe position that enables her to dance alongside able-bodied ballerinas.
Pollyanna has overcome many difficulties to achieve her dream to be a dancer and is currently looking to start using a new NHS light-weight leg that will help her progress with her dancing. She currently trains at the London Contemporary Dance School with the CAT (Contemporary Advanced Training) scheme and has been a dancer in the English National Ballet Youth Company since September 2021.
In the film, the movement of everyday life is frozen in time: Olympic skater Alysa Liu is captured in mid-leap, spectators are immobile as they watch an ice hockey match on TV, confetti is suspended in the air as a newly married couple approach their wedding car. It shows people in a new way and how mobility products help them move. The action shifts to a ballet class, with several girls frozen in mid-move. The camera then reveals Pollyanna Hope with her prosthetic leg. She is also the narrator of the frozen movement scenes.
As the world begins to move again, Pollyanna turns and dances, joining the other ballerinas on her own “impossible” journey. The advert, produced by Saatchi & Saatchi, is being aired in the UK across Video on Demand (VOD) and social media and on Eurosport TV, from today (31 January) to 7 March.
Pollyanna said: “It was brilliant fun to travel to Slovenia to film the advert. I enjoyed meeting so many new people and I loved doing the voiceover too. I am delighted to be part of the ‘Beautiful Movement’ advert and I can’t wait for my friends and family to see it.”
She explained how she uses different prosthetic legs for different activities: “Dorset Orthopaedic made a special ‘en pointe’ ballet prosthesis for me. I have a walking leg for normal walking and a blade for running that I also use for dance. I am getting a new activity leg too. I hope to be able to dance on it, as well as walk so I do not have to carry so many legs around with me.” Her advice to other children with disabilities is to “Go for it – there is no limit but what you think you can achieve. If you believe in yourself all else will follow.”
As both the star and voice of the Beautiful Movement campaign, Toyota caught up with Pollyanna and dance teacher Amber Doyle to hear about her training regime, the challenges of dancing with a prosthetic device, and her determination to succeed:
Q: What are your hopes and expectations for this year?
A: I want to flourish and be happy and to keep dancing and improving.
Q: How did you get into ballet? Who inspired you as a dancer?
A: I like being graceful and it was something that my friends were doing.
Q: What challenges have you encountered while becoming a ballerina/dancer?
A: The physical strain of it leaves me exhausted – but it always feels rewarding.
Q: What’s your favourite form of dance and why?
A: Ballet, because it is graceful and feels like I am floating when I dance.
And contemporary, because it makes me feel like I am free.
Q: How often do you train and where? Is your training any different or is it the same as everybody else’s?
A: I started training at the London Contemporary Dance School with the CAT (Contemporary Advanced Training) scheme in September 2018, and I have been a dancer in the English National Ballet Youth Company since September 2021. I do all the same dances as everyone else and my training is always the same. I dance on Tuesdays and Saturdays with CAT and Fridays with the ENB and once a month on a Sunday with the ENB too.
Q: We heard that you were looking for a new prosthesis. How has it been designed for ballet? Do you have different prostheses for different purposes?
A: Yes, Dorset Orthopaedic made a special en pointe ballet prosthesis for me. I have a walking leg for normal walking and a blade for running that I also use for dance. I am getting a new activity leg too. I hope to be able to dance on it, as well as walk so I do not have to carry around so many legs!
Q: How important is determination and will power compared to physical ability and training?
A: They stand in conjunction. Dance is impossible without both, but if I had to choose I believe determination will get you further.
Q: How do you juggle ballet with your everyday life? What other interests do you have?
A: It is a tight squeeze, I am not going to lie. I am also doing three A-Levels of which my favourite is Theatre Studies. Alongside this I also enjoy designing and making my own clothes, particularly smart dresses.
Q: What would you like to do in the future?
A: I would love to go on to train full time in dance and then hopefully join a ballet or contemporary company.
Q: Toyota conveys the message Start Your Impossible, a strong desire to recognise and help with the challenges people face. What would you say is your impossible today and how do you train
to achieve it?
A: Trying to juggle my A-Levels with my dancing and then find time to relax.