Dancing Continues

Alice L., Liam C., Sienna S., and Sienna G.


Moira M. is a typical middle school student. She goes to class, hangs out with her friends, and participates in extracurricular activities. But backstage is where her story truly lies.

About three months ago, Moira was going about her normal life. Her grades were strong and, as always, she demonstrated a bubbly personality. She had no idea that about a month into the school year, she would be diagnosed with a staph infection in her knee.

The pain began after falling at a friend’s house. Although she suffered a cut, Moira assumed it was a normal result of hitting the ground or the result of excessive hours at dance practice. She took fourteen dance classes every week, revealing her passion for art. But her pain grew. It soon hurt to the point that she couldn’t move her leg.

“I [initially] didn’t think anything of it, I just thought it started to hurt because of dance,” said Moira M.

Eventually, her knee swelled to the point where she and her family agreed that it was more than a simple cut. It was time for professional help.

“When we went to the doctors, they said it could have been a sprain or a torn ACL.  Because I was a dancer, that was common,” said Moira M. 

But they were wrong. 

On September 28, after an additional examination, another doctor diagnosed Moira with a staph infection. Immediate surgery was recommended upon identifying her condition. Other doctors disagreed. But after taking more blood tests and C-Reactive protein (CRP) tests, they finally agreed that surgery was the right choice.

“They had taken my blood from my IV, and they tested it in the lab. They had come back and [measured my] CRP, which is my inflammation levels,” said Moira M.

Moira never had surgery before. Like most people, it was a nerve-racking decision. She wasn’t going to be able to do things like normal for a long time. 

“It was terrifying because I was in the hospital for a week. I’ve never been in the hospital or experienced anything like that,” said Moira M.

After the surgery, Moira had to learn to walk again. She felt overwhelmed with schoolwork and struggled to keep up with her assignments. Her teachers lessened the amount of work that she needed to complete.

“It was overwhelming – a lot of stuff. But it wasn’t as much as [my classmates] were doing,” said Moira.

Her journey to return to dance was a different story. She had an operation right before her dance performance, so her disappointment ran deep. But she was determined to return to the floor. 

“It was a lot because I had to learn [choreography] by sitting in a chair,” said Moira.

She started to go to physical therapy to regain her ability to walk, which began on crutches. She was unwavering in her desire to return to dance, which began with simple steps.

“They gave me an old-person walker and I had to do that first. And then they gave me a crutch. I just knew I had to start walking regularly, so I ditched it.”

Moira completed the routine in less than a month. She also dealt with illness while trying to make a comeback. But she persevered through video instruction and the occasional studio rehearsal.

“I had gotten sick twice, and I missed two extra weeks, so I only had four weeks to learn everything,” said Moira. “I couldn’t actually have someone teach me; I just had to learn from watching the choreography. It was exciting to be able to dance again because I’d been gone for so long.”

Moira’s tenacity continued, not only in dance but in school too. Though she was off campus for much of the first trimester, she eventually caught up by staying in class longer than her peers.

“I had missed a few math things, so instead of going to P.E., I would stay in my teacher’s room and finish it and write things down,” said Moira. “I only had a few days to do it.”

As her body began to heal, Moira returned to the dance studio. She was happy to be back in the groove of things.

“I enjoy dance because it’s just what I love doing. I can show my emotions. I can do all my dance moves. And I can do everything I know and just put it in a routine,” said Moira.