How Dance Heals

Note: Katie Zobel is a long-time dance student of Arts Together and many of you may know her personally. She is an incredible individual and this is her inspirational story as told by her.

kz-whatmovesyou-alt.jpg

I am moved by Arts Together’s community — people who have walked by my side through moments of joy and moments of struggle.

Since I was three-years-old, dance has been a large part of my life. It all began in Kathryn Auman’s Dance Play class, which led to ballet then modern. At age 10, I was invited to join Rainbow Dance Company, an incredible group of multi-age dancers. I loved that any given year you could be dancing in Wonderland or in a vintage swimsuit.

One afternoon during class, Kathryn shared that although we may be struggling or having a hard day, the amazing thing about Arts Together is you can leave everything at the door and just dance. That statement has stuck with me and little did I know how it would help me throughout my life.

In 2010, I was in a gym class accident that resulted in a brain injury and disease called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. Kathryn and other Arts Together teachers helped make dance an inclusive place for me until there was too much possibility of additional injury. The doctors at this point recommended I take a sabbatical. During my hospitalizations and treatments that followed, I still had friends and support from my dance family due to the amazing community Arts Together cultivates.

Over the next few years as my disease progressed, I had the privilege of making special appearances in several Rainbow pieces. Kathryn worked with my mom (many times without me knowing) to subtly modify choreography so I could continue my involvement in dance.

When I reached my senior year, I asked for something that could have easily been denied: to choreograph and dance in my senior piece for the Rainbow concert. This has been a rite of passage for all high school senior dancers. Somehow, with help from Kathryn and my best dance friend Natalie, we made it happen despite my medical limitations.

KATIE (RIGHT) WITH HER BEST DANCE FRIEND NATALIE.  ABOVE IMAGE:  KATIE ZOBEL PERFORMING IN THE RAINBOW DANCE CONCERT HER SENIOR YEAR.

KATIE (RIGHT) WITH HER BEST DANCE FRIEND NATALIE. ABOVE IMAGE: KATIE ZOBEL PERFORMING IN THE RAINBOW DANCE CONCERT HER SENIOR YEAR.

I will always be thankful to everyone who helped make that senior year of dancing possible. Dance has always healed me, and this year, I have found my way back to Arts Together to dance with Kathryn again, even though I’m now in a wheelchair. Once a week, I drop my worries at the door and just dance.


Arts Together is such a special place. If you’ve ever left your worries at the door, would you make a gift today?

KatieZobel-sig.png