Tap Dance thru Life

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss my vintage, recent past, present and future live tap dance show footage!

Watch me paint “Miracle Dancer” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I was in a white water rafting accident when I was fifteen years old. It was a horrifying ordeal that left me with an injured spine and unexplained seizures. I didn’t lose consciousness, but had uncontrolled convulsions from the waist down that would leave me temporarily paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I was hospitalized for weeks, but I was discharged without any improvement, and my health was instead declining. The seizures were lasting for longer, sometimes as long as two hours, and the paralysis was now lasting hours as well. I could no longer walk after these daily episodes.

"When I was 16, sitting in a wheelchair after a seizure, the doctor said, 'She will never get out of that chair again.' I refused to believe it I danced in my next recital. I danced ballet, tap, and jazz routines after being in and out of a wheelchair and unable to fully walk for months… and I won a trophy! Never give in, Never give up, when they tell you, you’ll never walk- DANCE! Fight through the pain, Fight through the fear. Life is the DANCE!"

- from the book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Update to the above story…

 

I never stopped dancing. I performed in live shows in Germany (see my vintage video footage below!) and in several cities in the United States. I became a dance teacher and arts director (video 2), and I’m still dancing (video 3).

 

Watch these vintage clips (in video above) from a live Christmas show for the troops and their families on the Army base in Bamberg, Germany. I danced this routine about two years after I was wheelchair bound.

In video 2 (above), we jump ahead about two decades into the future. I’m tapping a solo during a live show that I directed. The girl who may never walk again was not only still dancing, but was now a teacher, choreographer, and director.

This recent tap performance (above video) was from my live painting Christmas Show. Watch the shows page for more dancing in the future! These days I teach only online (free!), and my time is mostly spent on things related to oil painting, but I’ll never stop dancing… even if one fateful day I can only dance in my spirit.

I hope you’re enjoying my new blog series, “Stories that Inspire my Art”. There are many, many more stories to tell! I’ll post these daily, but if you prefer not to check back to see if there’s something new, please subscribe to my blog to be notified when there’s a new blog post ready.

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