Valencia Student Teaches Latin Dance to Hospital Patients

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Valencia Dance Performance Degree Pathway student Abigail Ramos is making a difference in the lives of patients undergoing treatment at the Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center. Once a month, Abigail connects with cancer patients via Zoom to teach the techniques of Latin dance to improve health and wellness. Children and adults, who are in the hospital or at home, participate in the lessons. Family members are also invited to participate.

Professor of Dance and Dance Department Chair Suzanne Salapa volunteers at Orlando Health Cancer Institute and through Valerie Kelley, artist-in residence, healing arts specialist, Integrative Medicine Department, shared the dance opportunity with Abigail. Abigail considers it a blessing and said, “Not only do I teach the patients the techniques of Latin dance but also how to ‘dance your heart out’ with a smile and a happy soul.”

Abigail volunteered to lead the class and considers it a valuable experience. She will graduate from Valencia in May 2021 and will continue to volunteer at Orlando Health. Her plan is to earn an education degree and teach dance, and eventually own a dance studio.

“Research indicates that movement helps with lymphedema and neuropathy,” Valerie shared. People come to us as cancer patients, and they leave as artists. Abigail has been a wonderful asset to our patients’ wellness as they do what they can to help their bodies return to homeostasis.”

During Abigail’s Wednesday, January 20, 2021, class, Valerie presented her with a gift that the patients made for her during their chemotherapy treatments — a paper dancer.

The lessons are open to anyone who has cancer in the Central Florida community and their families. See below for future sessions.


  • Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 2 p.m.

Location: Zoom  (Meeting ID: 845 4410 0750, Passcode: 948326)

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