By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

dancerMost people view dance as an activity or a way to socialize at parties.

But to some, dance is everything.

Fourteen-year-old Gianna Schupler started dancing in first grade and fell in love. Her passion for dance was so strong that she would train long hours perfecting her craft.

“I love all my students,” said Melissa McDermott, Schupler’s dance instructor.  “You get one every now and then that’s just special and Gianna is so special.  You do the dance and she gets it.  So, when you teach Gianna a dance, it’s fun for you.  She pushed my boundaries as a teacher [and] she taps like no one I’ve ever seen before.”

While dance is the passion of her heart, Schupler’s heart put that desire in jeopardy

After years of experiencing fainting episodes, she passed out at the end of a long day of rehearsal and was rushed to the emergency room.

Doctors concluded that her left coronary artery was not correctly attached to her heart. Every time her heart rate went up, it would collapse and close off all blood and oxygen.

Schupler underwent surgery with one thing on her mind – would she be able to dance again.

Not only did she dance, but just four months later she danced at nationals and won.

“What it did for all of us was [to show] that in any circumstance just to never give up,” said Michael Cardascia, owner of Dance Xtreme.

Dance is Why.