Growing up in a small, cozy town in Southern Illinois, Rollettes star Conner Lundius began her dance career as a kindergartener. With a strong dance background in her early years, Conner went on to dance competitively throughout high school before moving to St. Louis, MO, for college in 2011. As a college freshman, she decided to take a year off of dance to better focus on her first year of university studies but soon realized a key part of her life was in limbo.
“I discovered that something was missing. I didn’t realize how important dance was to me until I didn’t have it in my life,” Conner shares.
Soon thereafter, Conner auditioned for her college dance team. She not only made the team, but she also served as dance team captain when she was a junior and senior in college, giving her last collegiate performance a couple of months before suffering a traumatic spinal cord injury.
How Conner Lundius Rediscovered Dance, Post-SCI
A car crash changed Conner’s life in 2015. Within seconds after her accident, Conner realized that it would be a long journey to rejoin the world of dance. Her hopes rose, though, when she discovered the Rollettes, a Los Angeles-based wheelchair dance team, on social media.
“I feel very lucky to have found them so soon into my injury,” she explains.
Via Instagram, Conner shared a video she made of herself dancing to choreography created by Chelsie Hill, the founder of the Rollette’s dance team. Chelsie saw the video in her Instagram feed and shortly thereafter, Conner met the team in person at the Abilities Expo in Chicago.
From there, everything fell in place naturally as Conner flew out to Los Angeles to attend her first Rollettes Experience, a weekend getaway for women and kids who love to dance regardless of whether they are walking or rolling.
Both the Rollettes dance team and the Rollettes Experience have continued to grow exponentially since Conner’s first outing with them in 2016. So when the opportunity to join the Rollettes team presented itself to Conner, she was more than a little excited (and overwhelmed)!
Watch The Rollettes Perform to Conner’s Choreography Mix
Conner Made the Move to Los Angeles, Independently
Moving from a small town to the bright lights of LA would be overwhelming for anyone, and Conner was no exception.
“I grew up in a town that had a population of less than 500 people! Moving to St. Louis for college was a very good in-between for me because it is definitely a bigger city. But still, relocating from the Midwest to Southern California was eye-opening because it truly is a completely different way of life out here,” Conner adds with a smile.
She credits her Rollettes teammates for helping make the major transition smooth for her.
“With the Rollettes, I have a built-in support system and friends who basically are my family,” she explains.
Additionally, Conner visited Los Angeles four times before making the move to help her prepare for all of the big changes ahead. While she admits it has been hard adjusting to being so far away from family and friends, she doesn’t have any regrets from moving and hopes other women who roll will consider opportunities away from home too.
Conner Lundius Shares Advice for Career-Focused Women Who Roll
Conner explains that during the years immediately following her spinal cord injury, she felt she lost prime years of her youth. Her biggest challenge was losing something we all value — time. Adjusting to all that comes with a spinal cord injury required Conner to invest a tremendous amount of her early 20s in adapting to a completely different way of life.
“I felt robbed of so much time,” she relays. “Time I spent in the hospital and in rehab left me feeling that my injury took so many prime years from away me.”
Feeling like she had lost so much time compared to her peers, Conner says she continually felt rushed and anxious because she believed she wasn’t accomplishing things in the same time frame as other women her age. “Being forced to slow down due to traumatic injury causes ongoing anxiety. You often think to yourself, ‘I’m, you know, however years old, and I haven’t done this yet,’” she adds.
The Advantages of Doing Things on Your Own Timeline
Conner wants to encourage other young women who are on the same post-SCI journey to take time to choose their own path. “You may reach your dream a lot later than other people around you, but still reaching for that end goal is your purpose,” she explains. “Don’t rush it!”
“I wanted to move to Los Angeles for two and a half years before I actually did it,” Conner says. “I didn’t feel ready at first. I didn’t feel like I could solidly make the move and not be completely emotionally distressed in Los Angeles once I left my support system at home.”
Instead of rushing her plans, Conner took her time planning the move so she felt more comfortable and confident.
“If it was going to take me two years to do it, that is just how long it was going to take me, and that was okay,” she mentions.
While it may have taken more time for Conner to transition her life to Los Angeles, there’s no question that her pace has sped up tremendously since she completed the move.
Earlier this spring, the Rollettes performed overseas for the first time, traveling all the way to Italy from their West Coast homes. They spent a week performing at a festival for different abilities. For Conner, this was by far her favorite experience with the team thus far.
“Being able to share that experience and partake in a different culture with my very best friends was one of my favorite moments.”
The Rollettes Take Italy by Storm
Traveling to Italy set a milestone for Conner’s perspective on her team too, as she realized during their performances in Europe just how far the Rollettes have come in the last three years.
“I’ve done the whole thing full circle. First, I was a Rollettes Experience attendee. Then, I was a part of their mentorship program, and now I’ve joined the team. I’ve been able to experience all the different facets of the Rollettes’ support programs for women, so it’s special for me to see how far the team has progressed,” she explains.
“Today, we are hosting over 200 women from all over the world who join us once a year at the Rollettes Experience in Los Angeles. Just a few years ago, the experience wasn’t even half that size,” she says.
Connect with Conner Via Social Media
If you are wanting to connect with Conner or one of the Rollettes, social is the best way to do so. Follow Conner and the Rollettes on Instagram at:
“We love connecting with different women, which is why we host open dance classes in Los Angeles once a month. We also have a girls’ night dinner immediately afterward. Making connections with other women with disabilities is one of our main priorities as a team,” Conner shares.
Why Conner Lundius Chooses the Cure Twist
When Conner officially joined the Rollettes dance team eight months ago, moving was just one of the major life changes she made. At the same time, though, Conner chose to use the Cure Twist as her everyday catheter. A variety of factors caused Conner to change to a Cure catheter instead of her previous brand.
“I’m a relatively new catheter user as I’ve only been paralyzed since 2015, but I can definitely say that I prefer Cure Medical and the Cure Twist catheter over others that I’ve used,” Conner explains.
One of the primary reasons she made the switch is due to the convenience and discretion that the Cure Twist provides to women who use it for self-cathing.
As often as she’s on the go worldwide with the Rollettes, Conner loves how convenient the Cure Twist is to use.
“It travels really well, and you can also have it out in public. No one is going to know what it is,” she adds. “I also like that it’s not made with any scary chemicals, and it doesn’t drip all over you when you use it.”
Rise and Shine with Conner as She Shares Her Must-Have Items
“I’m also tremendously grateful for the way that Cure Medical supports the Rollettes Experience by sponsoring us, as they help us host over two hundred women from the age of five to fifty from all over the world,” Conner adds.
“I actually had several friends switch to Cure Medical catheters after attending the Rollettes Experience. It’s amazing to know that by teaming up with partners like Cure, we are able to help people lead healthier lives as well,” she concludes.
To request free samples of the Cure Twist® Ready-to-Use Catheter or any Cure Medical catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.