TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Ballroom Dancing’

TBI Tales: Dancer Extraordinaire

(Reposted from my other blog – Donna O’Donnell Figurski’s Blog Sep. 3, 2012)

Meet Paula Nieroda 

Paula was David’s dance instructor for almost two years. She not only guided him through his dance steps, but she assessed his every movement to help him regain his balance.

Paula is much more than a dance instructor.

She is a wonderfully sensitive and compassionate young woman.

David and I took lessons with Paula once a week for nearly two years.

 

 

We learned a number of ballroom dances, including the Cha-Cha, the Tango, and the Swing – all very quick dances, which we did not do so quickly. We learned the Waltz and the Fox Trot, too. We stumbled around the dance floor amid the elegant contestants who were preparing for their next performance. They twirled and glided and dipped and swooped with feet barely touching the floor, while we firmly planted one foot and then the other in slow succession hoping that we would not topple over. We never did.

Paula taught David form – focusing on his posture. “Renew! Renew! Renew!” was her mantra – the reminder to David to stand taller.

When Paula moved to another studio, too far from us, we did not continue our lessons because we knew we could never replace her.

Paula is also a performance dancer and has competed and won many dance contests.  In the video below you will see Paula in action. In a pink fairy-princess gown, she glides over the floor with her partner, George Valasquez, who performs an amazing routine with only one leg.

Paula is truly an inspiration.

Watch this video to see what I mean. Truly AMAZING!!!!!

 

 

If you have a story to tell, please contact me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com

(Pictures compliments of ME.)

(Video compliments of YouTube.)

 

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TBI Tales: SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . Mansion Dancing Under the Stars

mansion-at-westport

 

David and I met on the dance floor when I was 16 years old. He was 17. We fell in love under a strobe light. Through our married years, we danced at weddings and at parties, but when David’s Traumatic Brain Injury left his body as limp as Raggedy Andy, I never dreamed that David and I would ever dance again. But, during a recent trip to Westport, Massachusetts, to spend time with our son, Jared, his fiancé, Emily, and her family, we found ourselves staying in a mansion … only feet from the Atlantic Ocean. Our host, dancers-thSusan, was beyond gracious, concerned about our every comfort. On our second night there, she threw a big family party on her extensive patio and even more expansive grounds overlooking the ocean; and she invited us. We stopped in about midnight.

 

The partygoers were huddled around the fire-ring … music still blaring. Jared and Emily began to dance on the patio. I swayed. David sat in a tall patio chair. Then the unthinkable happened. David asked me to dance. I hadn’t expected that! David can barely walk – dancing had not been on his radar for more than seven years. I looked at him expectantly. Was he kidding, being facetious? ballroom_dancing_stars_swinging_lg_clrNo! With a huge grin, I answered, “Yes!”

 

We didn’t Cha-Cha or Swing, as we had learned in our Ballroom Dance classes. We didn’t attempt the Fox Trot, or even the Waltz, though Paula, our dance instructor after David had his TBI (another story), would have been proud of us if we had. But, we did our own dance. We swayed back and forth – never moving our feet. We call it the “TBI Sway.” We swayed with my head resting against David’s shoulder and his hand gently placed at the small of my back. We swayed with David holding on to me for dear life … for balance. We danced under the stars to an old favorite, “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, with the sounds of ocean waves lapping the shore, with smiles on our lips, and remembrances of days gone by … and the promise of our days ahead.

dance under stars

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As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the lower right corner of your screen.

If you like my blog, share it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

Permission granted to “Reblog” my post.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of ME.)

If you have a story to tell, please contact me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com

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