Dancing helps in healingCancer survivor Krista Dutchuk credits her affiliation with the Burn the Floor, Diversity in Dance studio for helping in her recovery.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Cancer survivor Krista Dutchuk credits her affiliation with the Burn the Floor, Diversity in Dance studio for helping in her recovery.
A Dickinson High School senior, Dutchuk met studio director Nikki St. John at a Relay for Life event five years ago.
“I’m a cancer survivor and that’s why I was there,” Dutchuk said. “I saw her dance and decided I wanted to join.”
Dutchuk was diagnosed with leukemia a second time after she moved to Dickinson.
“My parents say I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Nikki and the studio,” she said.
Dutchuk joined dance with several best friends and a cousin.
“They and the other girls bonded with me through it,” she said. “It’s kind of my therapy — it gets your mind off things.”
Dutchuk was among the first to register at the studio when it opened in 2006.
“We watched her losing her hair and growing it back,” St. John said.
Dutchuk plans to study nursing at Bismarck State College.
“It doesn’t have a dance team, but I’d like to see if I could start one,” she said.
Several other dancers also shared their life-changing stories.
Berg Elementary fifth-grader Mystika Booke has danced at the studio for five years. She remembers being timid and shy.
“When I came to dance, I always sat in the corner and waited for my turn to come up,” Booke said. “Dance has helped me. You can express yourself one way or another, not only by facial, but how you dance.”
Her adoptive mom, Debby Booke, has witnessed the transformation while working as the studio’s office manager.
“She’s a different child — she has confidence and motivation. She’s not afraid like she used to be and Nikki is a big part of that,” Debby Booke said.
Hagen Jr. High seventh-grader Bailee Farnsworth was the first student to register for classes when St. John opened her studio.
“Dance gives you a lot of confidence here and being a student in school,” she said.
A dance student teacher, she added, “It gives us experience with the younger kids.”
The dancers give credit to St. John for her support.
“She’s a second mom,” Farnsworth said.
Moving here from Minneapolis, St. John added, “I love the people — they’re the most friendly, hardworking people I’ve ever met.”