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Danceworks Blog

Moving Milwaukee One Smile at a Time

Posted on by Deborah Wenzler Farris

 

Is there anything more beautiful than a smile? It can turn anyone’s day around. It is also more accepted than a hug or, God help you, a kiss on the side of the head like my brother always did (he didn’t hold back). But why should we? If there’s anything the world needs more of, it’s love.

 

And that is exactly what I felt as I walked into the studio the other morning to take my beloved Barre Workout class. What would I do without it? It keeps me flexible, balanced and strong, and it’s filled with the most incredible people. I’m always meeting someone new who I know for certain makes the world a better place – like Grace Sorbjan!

 

Some of Danceworks’ awesome students with instructor Kim Johnson after a Barre Workout class. Grace is in the 2nd row, 3rd from the left.

 

She looked vaguely familiar and when she greeted me with her contagious smile, I asked where I knew her from.

 

“My daughter used to take class here. I spent a lot of time in your lobby! She went off to college, so now it’s my turn!” Another big smile. “I exercised for an hour every day on my own starting in high school. In college, I added on step classes and weights. After I had a baby, I stopped moving. I gained 50 pounds.”

 

You can tell Grace has an indomitable spirit. It’s hard not to feel drawn to her—she exudes joy. Three years ago, at 50, she decided to get her first dog, Yoshi, out of the blue. This wasn’t just any dog, this was a 100-pound American Akita! Anyway, Grace is a lot of fun and when I asked if I could share her inspiration, she said, “Sure!”

 

Grace: I teach 4-year-old kindergarten at Martin Luther King School [one of the schools Danceworks does residencies in!]. This will be my 31st year. That’s where I get my spirit! I sit on the floor all the time with my class and I’m so happy I can sit criss-cross-applesauce.

 

I come to Danceworks because you make everyone so comfortable here – even if you’re overweight. I don’t go to gyms anymore for that reason. I feel out of place. Dance is one of the best forms of exercise. I love the physique of the dancers. They know the body so well and they know how to teach. The hardest part is getting your clothes on and getting out the door.

 

When I heard that Grace lost her husband unexpectedly not too long ago, I was all the more moved by her words and tenacity.

 

Grace: He was healthy and rode his bike. He was fit. After his diagnosis, we lost him in just six weeks. I realized then there was a reason I got that dog. He is my buddy and I’m sure that now my husband is glad that I got him too. Day by day we need to be grateful for what we have. I just hope that someone reads this and says, “I can do it, too!”

 

Maybe you’ve been holding off on taking that class you have always wanted to try, or are just in need of a little encouragement. I hope these words inspire you, as they did me, to stay moving forward in life.

 

If it’s your first class or, like for Grace, it’s been a while, Danceworks has something for everyone, and the best part is the people! Join the many who have discovered the joy. For more information on our fitness and dance classes of all levels click here.



About Our Blog

Welcome to the Danceworks blog, where we're hoping to share a little bit more about the heart and soul behind Danceworks… what made us join the dance and keeps us dancing, what keeps us inspired, and where we can share some of the stories worth telling.