Part 1: “Dancing has really taken me to a place of healing that I never imagined.”- Yesenia Peralta
Yesenia Peralta has always been one of those dancers who really stood out to me because of her flavor and natural movement both in her social dancing and stage performances. But her talent as a dancer has come to mean even more to me after getting to know Yesenia on a more personal level over the past few months. Through an in-depth interview with Yesenia, first conducted in July of this year,* I learned what a strong, courageous and fun loving woman lies within this dancer, this individual. Most of all, I was touched and deeply inspired by the passion for living that Yesenia shows off the dance floor as much as, if not more than, she has demonstrated in her years on the dance floor.
It is an honor to help her, through this interview, to share for the first time Yesenia’s story about her recent diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis (MS,) and how it has affected her perspective and growth in many areas of her life. Thank you, Yesenia, for trusting me to help send your message out to all the people out there who want to know how you’re doing. I know you will continue to inspire others with your positivity and charisma wherever you go. You have definitely had a huge impact on my life from just a few months of knowing you.
*Note: This interview was conducted on July 23rd, 2012; therefore, any reference to time and location is reflective of Yesenia’s experiences up to that date.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me, Yesenia, especially with everything you’re going through right now.
That’s okay, girl. Like I wrote to you, la gente estan pendiente (laughs)
(Translation: the people are waiting, they are waiting to find out what is happening with me)
People know I’m sick but they don’t understand what’s going on and what my mission is in my head. But this is my moment to talk a little more personally about myself. And even though you might be asking me questions about dance here, this interview is still different than others in the past. Every interview I’ve ever done before has always been about ‘what’s next’. People are always concentrating on what is GOING to come- “Oh, when is your school going to be opening up? When is your dance company going to perform?” they always ask. It’s always about what I am GOING to be doing.
But this time, it’s a little different, you know? This is the first time I’m doing an interview since I’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. And, to be honest, at first, I wasn’t interested in talking on a personal level to anyone. Three weeks ago, I would not have done this interview. A month ago, I would not have done this interview because I hadn’t found ‘my place’ yet, you know? (*see reference note at the start of the interview)