Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘The mental and physical benefits of dancing are almost beyond measure.’


“After 58 years of marriage, the last 10 of which were consumed by the relentless attack by Parkinson’s disease on my husband, it struck its final blow and the suffering was over, at least his was. I was now faced with reclaiming or restructuring my life. ‘What will you do?’ many asked me. One day I blurted out, ‘I’m going to learn the Argentine tango!’ And then COVID befell the world.

“Early on, I was immersed in grieving, my part-time job on hold for the duration. Time passed, restrictions eased and my emotions were frazzled enough for me to realize it was time for me to take action. The tango idea had lingered in the back of my mind, and after some research, I called the Ballroom of Huntington, a local dance school, to see if they had reopened. And there begins my story of healing to thriving, sorrow to joy, existence to fulfillment. In the year since the first Argentine tango lesson, I’ve learned many other dances and participated in DanceSport competitions. I’ve even won blue ribbons!

I am firmly convinced that this is the best preventative health care.

“The mental and physical benefits of dancing are almost beyond measure. Aside from engaging in a beautiful community of people of all ages with similar purpose, the physical and mental challenges are remarkable, and the satisfaction of meeting them is exhilarating. I’ve lost weight, reshaped my body, sharpened my mind and inspired innumerable folks, so they tell me. The only possible drawback to this remarkable activity might be the cost, though group lessons are reasonable. I’m greedy and blessed to be able to take private lessons as well. Health insurance companies support gym memberships and physical therapy, SilverSneakers as well, but they don’t support dance classes, which is really a shame. In my opinion, the dancing far surpasses the benefits of those alternatives. My doctors are thrilled with me. I am a celebrity, an icon, and they cheer me on. The sport dance associations have been trying for many years to have it admitted as an Olympic sport. I am firmly convinced that this is the best preventative health care. And it’s fun! It’s like I found the fountain of youth!”

Interviewed by Jenna Kern – Rugile