I was a star struck 15 year old in 1968 when, after seeing Promises,Promises on Broadway I was face to face with Donna McKechnie and Ken Howard at a Christmas party my cousin Paul Blake and his partner were hosting in Greenwich Village. In 1976 I sat in the front row balcony watching A Chorus Line mesmerized by Cassie's solo number, "The Music and the Mirror". Donna McKechnie won the Tony that year and A Chorus Line swept the Tonys with 9 awards.
Three years later, Donna was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I learned about her journey because she was a guest on Boston's WBZ radio, The Jordan Rich Show several years ago. She could barely get out of bed and was in a wheelchair. Doctors told her she would never walk, never mind dance again. She pursued various physical, psychological, and holistic healing remedies, and was well enough to return to the Broadway company of A Chorus Line in 1986.
I am reading Donna's book, "Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life."
I am so blessed and deeply grateful for all I am able to do; for all I've been able to achieve since the diagnosis of post polio syndrome in December 2006. I know how lucky I was on 4/15/13 to be upstairs at the Mandarin rather than at the finish line or downstairs across from The Forum which was our original plan. The doctor at the post polio clinic says, "We don't recommend running for polio survivors but you have your own life to lead." Last year I had a stunning run of 9 races in 9 months with two PR's. A knee injury was my wake up call to add in core, quad and hip flexor strengthening exercises. I'm cross training on my bike and getting ready to return to the roads in April. I have also been remembering what it felt like to dance before - before I experienced paralytic polio at the age of 5 and 9 years of domestic violence culminating with my dad's suicide when I was 17.
I have been transforming from someone who uses will and determination to move in my body to one who uses ease and grace even while strength training.
I had this feeling come over me that I could be daring to dance again. Even just once in a dance studio.
A few weeks ago I googled Adrianne Haslet-Davis and found this stunning video from TedX Beacon Street:
After losing her leg on 4/15/13, she vowed she would dance again.
This morning I googled Donna McKechnie and as synchronicity would have it in a stunning move, she is going to be the understudy for Chita Rivera in The Visit.
Chita Rivera is 82 years old and Donna McKechnie is 72. I am only 61 ...
So I am putting this out to the Universe -- I want to dance again. I'll continue to build strength and feel grace, ease and stretch for flexibility. I'll continue to visualize dancing and embodying me as a dancer.. I need a studio with someone like Adriane or Donna who has come back from being told they would never dance again ... just once or maybe twice - the music and the mirror and a chance to dance for you -- because God I'm a dancer - a dancer dances.
"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.
"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.
50% of all book proceeds are donated to the Mass Resiliency Center to benefit Boston Strong survivors of 4/15/13.