Studio Information

How Ballroom Dancing Changed My Life Contest Winner!


In January 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage II B Breast Cancer at the age of 36. I had 8 chemo treatments, a double mastectomy, 28 radiation treatments, and reconstruction. I had 9 surgeries in 2 years, and my body was really broken. And when I looked in the mirror I saw a tired old woman; and that’s how I felt. I had gained a lot of weight and really felt like a lost a lot of myself through all the treatments and recoveries. I had put on weight and had a number of aches and pains and I thought this was my new normal that I was stuck living with for the rest of my life. At the end of it all, in the fall of 2012 I was extremely depressed and a friend of mine told me about Fred Astaire Dance Studios and I decided to try it out because I knew I needed something new for me. What I didn’t know was my life was about to be changed completely and every part of me was about to be changed completely.
My first lesson was wonderful. Joel was easy to talk to and made me extremely comfortable. It was so fun and I really felt heard like he genuinely cared about me as a person. I left the studio that day feeling so much lighter and I had found some joy I hadn’t felt in a really long time. Over the months to come, I lost 50 lbs and one by one my aches and pains disappeared. And I found new life and joy and passion and I have found a community of people that I just absolutely love; they are like family to me. One of the more emotionally difficult struggles that I had before I started dancing after cancer was feeling like my body hated me. And the feeling was mutual, it had tried to kill me after all so I poisoned it and cut it and burned it just to stay alive. I went to see a counselor to cope with some of this for a time and a year into counseling I was still really struggling with my anger. But within just a few months of dancing I was able to make peace with my body and begin to accept it for what it is.
I don’t know that I love it yet but I am able to see that it can still work for me and at least be ok with it. I feel like there is a place in the soul that words can’t reach but dance can. And through dancing I have found more life and joy and excitement and passion then I had even before cancer I think. I am so grateful for everyone here at Fred Astaire South Barrington. I love you guys.