C-Bunny lives to dance and inspire others

TV appearance bolsters confidence of hearing-impaired dancer

BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP
Staff Writer

Christine Sarni has embraced her disability through dance. The 25-yearold Millstone Township resident who calls herself C-Bunny recently appeared on “Live to Dance,” a prime-time dance competition series on CBS. She danced her way through the preliminary auditions and earned a chance to show her moves to judges Paula Abdul, Kimberly Wyatt and Travis Payne. The television show also featured a segment about Sarni’s ability to dance despite her hearing impairment and reliance on the use of hearing aids.

“I loved that the show kept embracing that I was hearing impaired and not deaf,” Sarni said. “That’s something that people never heard about before.”

Although Sarni did not advance to the next level of the competition, she got everything she wanted and more out of the experience, particularly encouragement from Abdul and a standing ovation from the audience.

 Top: Christina Sarni practices her dance moves at the CentraState Fitness and Wellness Center in Freehold Township. Above: Sarni shows off some of the dance steps that earned her a spot on “Live to Dance.”  PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff Top: Christina Sarni practices her dance moves at the CentraState Fitness and Wellness Center in Freehold Township. Above: Sarni shows off some of the dance steps that earned her a spot on “Live to Dance.” PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff “I knew I was born for that moment,” Sarni said.

After her story appeared on national television, people from all over the world reached out to her.

“I heard from people with physical disabilities, handicaps, hearing impairment and people who don’t have disabilities at all saying ‘You gave me the motivation to live my life,’ ” Sarni said.

The positive feedback has motivated Sarni to tell her story and become an advocate for the hearing impaired.

“I want to speak to and encourage other hearing-impaired people, especially teenagers, that they can do it,” Sarni said. “If I can do it, you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you no.”

During her motivational talks, she encourages people to realize that disabled people are different, not less. She also talks about the difference between being hearing impaired and being deaf.

“Hearing impairment is the most misunderstood disability,” said Sarni’s mother, Lauren. “If she can make people understand the challenges for the hearing impaired, she would make lives easier.”

Sarni has taken her story on tour, visiting schools and expositions throughout New Jersey to motivate others to break through barriers and follow their dreams. She has incorporated sign language into her dance routine to make her disability cool. “I may not hear all the words, sounds and beats to the music, but I hear it with my heart,” she said.

Sarni has also started teaching dance, showing students of all ages how to perform basic hip-hop moves, with fun being the major goal of each class. She will also dance on a world tour with GrammyAwardwinning artist Faheem Rasheed Najm, better known as T-Pain, when he releases his album “Revolver.”

“Growing up, I always felt like I was at the bottom,” Sarni said. “Now I want to go over the top.”

Sarni is available for performance lectures and dance lessons. She will be teaching a 90-minute hip-hop master class starting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Jackson Fitness Center.

For more information, contact Christina Sarni at cbunny.hiphopdance@gmail.com.