Hello! My name is Kalob Insalaco. I am 16-years-old and a passionate hip hop dancer mainly at the Jukebox Dance Studio in Gilbert, Arizona and I am so grateful to be a part of such an amazing, growing, and humble dance community.
Another activity I have a passion for is working with special needs individuals at my high school every day and I hope to one day create my very own dance studio dedicated to teaching the true art form and lifestyle of hip hop to the disabled. One of the activities that these kids work for is called Unified Games. This is when Special Education programs compete in sports such as basketball and football. I wanted to be a part of this by being a partner to the kids during the basketball games starting that season.
To do this, I needed a sports physical. I went in to the doctor’s office excited to be doing this, the first step into what seemed like my path for the rest of my life. Once the doctor listened to my heartbeat, her face went muddled. As did mine wine I saw hers. She told me that something did not sound right in my heart and that I couldn’t be cleared for basketball until a Cardiologist saw me.
Fortunately, I was able to get in to the cardiologist the same day. His face, as well, went bewildered. He told me yet again that something was wrong with my heart and that I needed to have several procedures done to realize what exactly was wrong. After all of the procedures and test in the weeks afterwards, they finally figured out what was wrong.
My doctor said that I had a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which is, essentially, the thickening of the heart. He said that I needed heart surgery immediately and that they might be able to help weaken the thickening. The statement that caught me by that ironically broke my heart was, “I don’t think that you will be doing hip hop for the rest of your life until we find a cure. I’m sorry.”
At this point, I didn’t have much hope left. My parents and I pleaded for an alternative explanation on what this was as an ocean fell off of our eyes. But to no avail, he showed us exactly what was wrong and that there is no cure for it. All I remember muttering to my mother was, “My life is over.” Having my mind go black, I managed to ask about teaching since it requires a bit less exertion on my heart than the students sometimes. He said that I shouldn’t do any physical activity whatsoever.
Devastated, I became depressed in the weeks that passed and almost saw no hope in the future without my passion of dance, and blamed my Heavenly Father for what has happened to me. My parents seemed to have the same sort of feelings as well and looked for a second opinion. They wanted it from the head of cardiology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. All I could think was that he was just going to say the same thing that I heard before. But this was different. He said that the other doctor was correct on what exactly I have, but that he was wrong in the fact that I shouldn’t do any physical activity. He told me that no physical activity is actually worse for my heart than actually dancing. I again asked if I could teach. He finally said, “absolutely.” I saw glimmer of hope but was still on edge about the whole situation.
I told my teacher of the special needs program, of whom I am a peer facilitator in his classroom every day, the whole story and offered me a job that he could get me working for the City of Chandler teaching hip hop to disabled individuals. I openheartedly accepted his dream-making offer.
Today, I have my own class doing the very thing I’ve wanted to do from the very beginning. I am now able to teach the love that dance has to offer to everybody. I teach these amazing kids how to freestyle and how to express themselves with it without criticism from others and just learning how to be free through dance. Every time I enter the room ready to teach, I am filled with hope for the future even though it was grim for a while.
I am still able to dance and love it even more than I did before. I know now that my future is brighter than ever due to the blessings that are carrying my life through doors opened by the Lord I will always have faith and love in my mind when going through my life with hope that things will get better. I strive to live life to the fullest every second of my day and have learned to take nothing for granted.
I cannot thank enough those who have helped me through this difficult time will stay with me for the rest of my life. I can now look at all of this as a gift, my passion for dance, the kids that I teach, and the people around me that I love every day.
Things will always get better. You just have to believe.