A Testament to Finding A Movement You Love
“I feel joy when I dance, especially tap… It works the mind and the body.”
“The day you stop learning is the day you start to get old.”
Barbara F. Cullen
Job: Choreographer and Dance Instructor; Performer at Dancers Center for Training
Barbara F. Cullen didn’t let the chronic pain of arthritis relegate her to a life of inactivity. “I have been dancing since the age of seven, so for 54 years, I danced on my hips almost every day. About 7 years ago I developed arthritis, first in my left hip. I tried stem cell therapy two years into the pain but my arthritis was too far gone to help. Soon after that my right hip was also bone on bone. I could barely walk after teaching classes all day and would choreograph hanging on to the back of a chair or a table to demonstrate the dance steps. I did this while choreographing for the Kentucky Opera and Kentucky Shakespeare,” she says.
Instead of focusing on the limitations of the disease, Barbara searched for a solution. “I had heard about anterior approach hip replacement and thought that might be a way for me to get back to my work quickly. Surgeon Dr. Johnathan Yerasimides suggested I have both replaced at the same time, because I was in good shape. We scheduled the surgery about 6 weeks later and I was teaching dance right up until the time of surgery. I was doing 5-minute planks and going to the gym to get strong,” she says. Five weeks after the surgery, Barbara began teaching dance again and says the physical therapy she received aided in her speedy recovery. “I grabbed as much PT as I could so I could get back to doing what I love!”