Untapped Dancer Story: Too Weak to Stand, but Too Strong to Quit

Nova Dawn Johnstone

Dublin • Ireland

I also teach them to feed their passion through hard work and commitment and eventually that passion will feed you!

I started ballet when I was 8. After my very first class my teacher told my parents to keep me in ballet as I could have a career. By age 11 I was moving away from home to attend the professional training program at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and the following year the National Ballet a School of Canada. At 13 I was diagnosed with Adrenal Cancer, given a 30% chance of survival. Between treatments and surgery I would go to the studio. I was too weak to stand so I worked on my port de bras! After surviving I continued dancing until my early 20’s where they found another tumor! This time not cancerous but causing paralysis - the worst news for someone who depends on movement for their career. After a major spinal surgery where my hip bone was fused into my spine I took up loads of physio to rehabilitate. I now have the pleasure of passing on my passion to many talented ballet students who have a career in mind. I also teach them to feed their passion through hard work and commitment and eventually that passion will feed you!