On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s all dance all evening for 13-year-old Chancey Guidry. After school, Chancey attends Colt Kickers practice from 3:10-4:15. At 4:30, she meets her dance partner Dedrick Johnson at SportDance Academy where she practices ballroom dance until 6 p.m. Then she heads to Elite Danceline Studio at 6:30 for more practice.
And that’s before she can even start her homework.
Chancey’s mother, Oraneka Guidry, says her daughter has a passion for dance. When she was in fifth grade, Chancey participated in the nationally-acclaimed program Dancing Classrooms. She performed well and was one of the few dancers asked to continue ballroom dancing at SportDance Academy in Lake Charles. This program has provided Chancey the opportunity to travel to New York, Alabama, Florida, and throughout Louisiana for ballroom dance competitions. Now in eighth grade at S. J. Welsh, she and Dedrick have won numerous awards, including first place for their age group at a regional event in Florida last year.
Remarkably, Chancey has battled a rare heart defect called chaotic tachycardia (rapid heartbeats) since before birth. Throughout her life, she has undergone five cardiac ablations—a non-surgical procedure done via cardiac catheterization to stop the irregular heart rhythm—and is scheduled for a sixth procedure on February 17. Ablation is widely used and generally safe, but during Chancey’s last procedure, the catheter became lodged in her heart muscle. She required emergency open heart surgery to correct the problem and the tachycardia was not corrected.
Three months later, Chancey returned to the dance floor.
Her friendships at SportDance Academy played a role in Chancey’s recovery from surgery. Guidry marvels at the camaraderie between the dancers.
"Chancey is an only child so it's a dream come true for her to be around children who have the same interest. I sit back and watch them and they are so close. Their bond is truly beautiful,” Guidry says.
Dedrick is like a brother to Chancey. The pair will perform three routines in Tuxedo Junction, the March 5 SportDance Academy fundraiser at Central School.
Dancing Classrooms and SportDance Academy have helped Chancey in numerous ways. Ballroom dance has bolstered her self-esteem and confidence, fostered friendships, taught her poise and interpersonal skills, how to work with a partner, and the importance of perseverance. Chancey says, "Your desire to reach your goal is a reflection of the amount of hard work you're willing to put in.”