We have a lot of inspirations in the dance scene. Inspirational performers, social dancers, and personalities. People we admire for their dancing, and people we admire for who they are. With the new year approaching, many of us are making new years resolutions. Some we will keep, some we will try to keep, and some are over before they even start. I would put forward one easy new years resolution for every dancer:

Recognize a dancer in the scene who has had an impact on your dance life. It can be for any reason whatsoever – done publicly or privately directly to the person. You can even comment on this article, or tag them in a share. It helps if you share the article or write a challenge to your fellow dancers to do the same. After all, there’s absolutely nothing negative about spreading love and telling others how much they inspire you.

So, with that, I’m going to share my own story about one of the most inspirational dancers I know.

Her name is Dana Gudelis. She is fiery, awesome, intelligent, and incredibly driven. And she is almost everything that I aspire to be in the future.

I first met Dana sometime around a year ago, when she sat with my partner and I to discuss her plans for a new dance venture (my partner and her go way back from when they both danced Salsa). It was then that I realized how intelligent and collaborative she was. She also pulled off the craziest hair colors and styles I’ve ever seen with endless class.

Flash forward a few months and she took the plunge into Zouk. After avidly pursuing Salsa, West Coast Swing, Tango and more, she decided to give Zouk a try – despite the ‘crazy’ head movements. She loved it, and decided she wanted to jump into it with both feet.

As of last June, she joined our performance team. This is when I really got to know just how awesome she is. She is a cancer survivor, former executive, grandmother, dancer and more. Dana is also incredibly hard-working – something that I greatly admire. On our dance team, she kept up with AND inspired all of the young women (and guys) on the team.

Less than 2 weeks before showtime, she was in a scooter accident on her way to rehearsal(yes, she rides an electric scooter in downtown Toronto). She missed that rehearsal, but came right back to the next one – despite being quite bruised (and later finding out she had a fracture in her hip). Less than two weeks after the accident she performed.

I’m actually fairly certain at this point that she is humanity’s closest person to being unstoppable.

Even one of the top WCS professionals in the world told me that she sees Dana as incredibly inspirational. She has an incredible heart and unbreakable spirit. When we worked on our charity fundraising event, she volunteered her time and hand-made feather earrings to sell to support the charity. She has helped provide support for our blind dancers.

There are many people in dance I find inspirational; I can’t possibly name them all. Some are world-level professionals – like Freddy and Andressa, or Maxence and Virginie. Many are my students. Some are friends from around the world – like Niko Salgado and Tanya Teal. Some are community dancers that I wish I knew better, but love nonetheless – like Randolph Peters. Some are dancers who I feel a deep respect for because of their unique talents – like Jukka Valimaa or Kristina Tsvetkova. I count my partner Darius Zi among these people as well – more so than any other (that goes without saying).

Among these amazing people, Dana has a particularly special place in my heart as an inspiration. She inspires me to look forward to who I can become. She represents the type of person that I want to be as I grow – and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I feel it is important to give the recognition to people like this in our lives. It is not only a compliment to the recipient – but also allows us to recognize the positive influences in our lives. 

Whether publicly or privately, tell the people who are important to you that they inspire you. It can only make our relationships and community better. Share this, or create your own. Message someone.

Share the love. Make someone’s day. Keep a new years’ resolution.

It only takes 5 minutes or less.