Dancers with Incredible Spirit

April 22, 2013

Few words can express the immense courage of those at the Boston Marathon last Monday. For many, their passions have been tested, and like Adrianne Haslet-Davis, their strength of spirit has prevailed. Dance Magazine would like to give a special mention to Haslet-Davis, a Boston-based ballroom dance instructor, who was standing roughly five feet from the second explosion and lost her left foot.


We love her resilience. In an interview with CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper, Haslet-Davis asserts that she will dance again, no question about it. “When someone tries to stop you from doing something, or something happens in your life where it’s not exactly what you expected, you have to conquer that and find the better side of it,” she says. “I don’t want this to be the end. I’m only 32… I am defiant and want to come out stronger.”


Haslet-Davis’ thoughts reminded us of another brave dancer, Evan Ruggiero. Three years ago, the Montclair State University undergraduate was diagnosed with bone cancer, and his right leg was amputated above his knee. This didn’t stop Ruggiero from continuing his passion—in fact, he relearned how to tap dance by watching videos of “Peg Leg” Bates, and in the past year alone, he’s performed at the St. Louis Festival, the L.A. Tap Fest, and Jersey Tap Fest. (Look for Ruggiero in your May 2013 issue of DM.) He has a similar message to Haslet-Davis: “After being diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t want to live life going by books or plans. I just want to take every day as it comes.”


To read more about Adrianne Haslet-Davis’ road to recovery, or to help, visit