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Doctor’s Orders: On Dance, Competing and Empathy

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In addition to enriching her own life, dancing has helped Dr. Leslie Barnes Remski, Orthopedic Surgeon and FADS Pensacola, FL Student, to better empathize with her patients who have sustained injuries. 

Dr. Leslie Barnes Remski had always been interested in dance, but never had the chance to train. When she moved to Pensacola, FL she made the commitment, and has been dancing with Fred Astaire Dance Studio Pensacola FL Co-Owner & Instructor, Victor Luna, since September of 2016. “I really enjoy it, it’s a great physical and mental workout that helps me decompress, but is stimulating at the same time. And FADS Pensacola is a place that makes me feel happy, challenged, and entertained. It’s warm and welcoming, like a big family.” Over time, Leslie has also noticed physical benefits of dancing. “I have improved core strength and posture, and my arms and legs are more toned and strong.” Her favorite aspect of dance involves the musicImg 0958 - and the physicality. “There is a wonderful give and take between partners. I find myself envisioning different kinds of dance to music that I hear every day.”

In 2017, Leslie’s involvement with FADS Pensacola expanded beyond lessons. Early in the year, she participated in her first FADS dance competition, a regional event in Destin, FL. “It was a great experience, and I would love to do it again. Seeing the dancers’ different interpretations contributes to the repertoire of options I can incorporate into my own dancing.” Several months later, Leslie was asked to take part in Pensacola’s Life’s a Dance fundraiser, performing an original routine with three instructors – Victor, Kristopher Williams and Tyler Schultz, and choreographed by Victor. “It was the hardest dance I had ever done, but it was so much fun!

Leslie has found that being active in her own life also translates to her work. “As an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in fracture management, ballroom dancing has helped me better understand the challenges my patients face when they have an acute injury that may prevent them from pursuing their passion for a time. It is definitely easier to empathize, and Img 0961 -encourage them to be active participants in their healing so they can return to their passion.” She unfortunately knows about injury from personal experience. “I developed some tendon inflammation in my left ankle last year. I didn’t want to pass up Life’s a Dance, so I pushed through it, but had to take a break for a few months to let my injury recover. I really miss dancing. It’s difficult to stop something that I find so fulfilling and enjoyable because of an unexpected physical limitation, but I am confident I’ll be able to return to it soon.”

When asked if she had any words of wisdom for other Fred Astaire Dance Studio students, Leslie offers, “As medical professionals, what we want is to promote people getting into healthier lifestyles, particularly if they’ve sustained an injury. I’ve had patients who’ve gone from being completely inactive to finding their passion, and the energy that comes from physical activity enables them to continue doing it. Everyone who just generally wants to be active can benefit from dance.” What would she tell people who’ve never tried ballroom? “TRY IT!!! You will love it. It can feel slow and awkward at the beginning, but it is so wonderful when you really feel it taking shape. It is a journey completely unique to you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, just DANCE!” We suggest you follow the doctor’s orders :-). Start your dance journey today, contact us at Fred Astaire Dance Studios.

(Top Left): Leslie executes a lift with her FADS Instructors, during Life’s a Dance (FADS Pensacola event)
(Top Right): FADS Pensacola, FL Student Dr. Leslie Barnes Remski, with FADS Dance Instructor Kristopher Williams.
(Bottom Left): FADS Instructor Tyler Schultz, FADS Pensacola Co-Owner Victor Luna, Student Leslie Barnes Remski, and FADS Instructor Kristopher Williams