A Dream to Dance Forever by Tanya Boshoff

I started dancing when I was 3 and at a very young age knew that was what I wanted to do forever is to dance. I decided I will have my own dance studio and change the world through performing arts. I loved the stage… I also attended drama classes and enjoyed portraying different characters.

I was very dedicated to my dream and completed all my dance exams and spent all my time dancing in my room. Who wants to do homework when you can dance, right?

After school I studied (you know your parents always say you must have something to fall back on as you cannot dance forever). But my goal was still to have a career in dance.

Whilst studying I was also part of the drama team. In my first year we worked really hard on a production we were to perform at the Grahamstown Arts Festival. Unfortunately, we never made it to the festival as we had an awfully bad car accident on the way there.

I broke my back as well as my jaw in 6 places. Bring on the operation, my jaw was wired shut for 6 weeks, hello weight loss! Ensure shakes was all there was back in the day.

Fast forward a few years and I started having the strangest symptoms, numbness in my hands, arms, feet, and legs.

Blackouts at the most inopportune times and just collapsing whilst walking. What was up with that? So, after many months of numerous tests and hospital visits, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. That sucked!

A few years later I had an extremely damaging relapse and landed up paralysed. I could not walk or do anything for myself. Sitting in front of my neurologist in a wheelchair he said, “You will never walk again”. And therefore, never dance again…. I was mortified, devastated

My whole world came crashing down. BUT, I made a decision that it will not get me down. I was not going to give up on what I’ve dedicated my heart and soul into, ever!

And so daily rehab and physio started: 6 months later I took my first step again. It took months for me to get back to “normal” but I did it. My mind was strong enough to carry me through. Unfortunately, the relapse left permanent damage, but I learned to work around it. Adapt or die, right?

I knew dance would strengthen my body (and mind) and I went back to classes as soon as I could. Dance has helped me work with what has now become the “new normal” but I am doing it, my way! Feeling free, just you and the music is the most amazing healer. The body is a phenomenal thing, treat her right and she will reward you.

Dance (just like coffee and chocolate) just fixes everything, a broken body, and a broken heart too (hahaha). Dance saved me, body, mind and soul and I will dance forever…

I worked extremely hard and have obtained two Dance Teacher Diplomas through DESA and am working on the third one as we speak.

Don’t ever give up on your dreams, no matter the challenges you might face.


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