Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her lower left leg in the Boston Marathon bombings, took to the stage Wednesday afternoon to do a short rhumba wearing a prosthetic leg made for her at the MIT Media Lab. Haslet-Davis, who has taught 20 different types of dance at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Boston, performed briefly at a TED Conference in Vancouver, B.C.
Hugh Herr, director of biomechatronics at the Media Lab, was at the conference to explain the design of the leg, which he made with a team of scientists savvy in prosthetics, robotics, and biomechanics. Herr is a double amputee, resulting from a rock climbing accident in 1982. He first met Haslet-Davis at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and thought he could help. The dancer’s husband, Air Force Captain Adam Davis, suffered a cut nerve and artery in his left foot in the bombing and had a skin graft from his right thigh to repair his right foot, which was peppered with shrapnel. He had just returned to Boston two weeks earlier from a deployment in Afghanistan when the couple decided to spend a nice spring day watching the Boston Marathon.