Meet the inspirational four-year-old girl who loves to dance – despite not being able to hear the music.
Kristalyn Ibarra was born profoundly deaf due to her hearing nerve on her right ear being missing for reasons unknown to medics.
Initially her parents feared the handicap would hold her back but the determined little girl has already defied their expectations.
Kristalyn plays baseball like her dad Marcos Ibarra, 29, and at the age of three discovered her favorite hobby – dancing.
Every week, the pre-kindergartener goes to Kimberly’s Dance Studio in Paramount, California, USA, where she does tap and ballet.
And despite not being able to hear the music, she has learnt to memorize every step of a routine in order to keep up with her non-deaf classmates.
Proud dad Marcos, who has learned sign language along with the rest of the Ibarra family, said seeing his daughter perform filled him with joy.
The dad-of-three, who is expecting twins with Kristalyn’s mom, Cristina, 26, even took up dancing classes so he could join her for a duet during a recent recital.
Oil refinery electrician Marcos, of Long Beach, California, said: “Oh man, she is wonderful. She is very strong and outgoing and she is happy all the time.
“Her favorite thing is that she absolutely loves to dance.
“We made flashcards for the dance teacher which have simple signs on them like ‘stand back’, ‘go here’, ‘come here’.
“She pretty much has to memorize the steps because it’s hard for us to explain to her to feel the rhythm at this point.
“We will record the routine and put it on the TV so she can practice.
“She is always dancing at home and at parties she is the first up on the dance floor. I’m pretty sure she feels the music.
“With the dance studio she has done three performances with audiences and one was a big big performance that I actually performed in for the father daughter dance.
“That was my first time dancing and I’m not a big dancer but the father-daughter bond that we have would make me do anything.
“When I saw her on stage I was filled with excitement and joy. I was so proud of her.”
Medics are unsure why Kristalyn was born deaf but she diagnosed at two months old and tests showed it was not genetic.
As she is missing part of the auditory nerve she cannot be given cochlear implants like many children and adults who are hearing impaired.
Kristalyn attends a deaf school and her brothers Nathan, nine, and Ryan, six, also take weekly classes so they can learn to sign to help them communicate with their sibling.
Her parents, grandmother and six other family members have also enrolled so they can communicate with her.
Marcos said: “When we found out Kristalyn was deaf it was stressful. We were scared. She is the first deaf family member we have had.
“We were also sad because the first thought was, ‘She is not going to be able to hear, how is she going to deal with life by herself?’
“It has been hard with the communication but once we broke that barrier with sign language everything went so much more smoothly.
“Now pretty much anything she signs we can understand.
“We have realized that what she has is a disadvantage but with time and patience, she will make that disadvantage into an advantage.
“I would have never thought she’d be able to dance but now I’m seeing her growing up and taking on these challenges alongside the hearing girls.
“There are no boundaries or goals she can’t reach.”