Sebby (shown) is about to record the first Make-A-Wish dance for Elizabeth, 16, of Teutopolis, south of Champaign.
"This has always been why I dance," Sebby said. " … To tell other people's stories and to bring joy when there might not be a lot of happiness. This is a really special project because I'm doing exactly that. I'm bringing this beautiful piece to a girl who loves to dance and doesn't always have the chance to. The whole piece is her story. I'm excited to bring that story … out in the world."
Sebby said she and Elizabeth have been collaborating closely on how to tell the story. It will be set to the song "Unstoppable" by Sia.
"I asked Elizabeth what songs she felt hit close to home," Sebby said. "When I brought that song up to her, [there was] no hesitation."
Sebby is co-choreographing the contemporary piece with one of her dance teachers, Tressa Mohler, and it will be recorded at the academy.
Sebby, who has been dancing since she was 3, heads off to the University of Alabama in August as a dance major, with plans for a career in dance.
The piece she is creating for Elizabeth starts with the dancer on the floor almost in defeat, to evince what it was like when Elizabeth was too ill to dance, she said.
"As the song starts to build, the choreography gets stronger and it's more powerful," Sebby said. "It … ends on a strong note to show she is truly unstoppable and strong and she can get through it and she's a warrior. We tried to emphasize that journey from being defeated to being on top."