The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

Military Children. How Professional Dance Instructor Saved My Daughter

I lost my husband five years ago, Devin Donnelly, who was a Colonel, Medical Chief, and OBGYN doctor in the Air Force. He left this world because he could not deal with his depressions anymore; service in Afghanistan had changed his life… This was difficult for me, and my daughter Zhenya Denisenko, she was completely heartbroken. Zhenya and I immigrated to America from sunny Krasnodar 8 years ago, my daughter was then almost 7 years old. We met Devin much earlier when Zhenya was 4, and she fell in love with him, perhaps even faster than me. For her, he was the standard of masculinity and reliability, she was proud to have such a father, dreamed of following in his footsteps and studying medicine.

Zhenya and Devin Donnelly... Courtesy of personal family archive

When he passed away little heart of 10-year-old Zhenya got numb when she found that she will never see her “Daddy” anymore. She felt that she did something wrong and all that happened was her fault. She stopped laughing, got quitter, closed in her own world ... In school, she was not looking for friends anymore and did not want to reach out to her current friends. Counseling did not work for her; she was simply rejecting it. She didn't want to start any activities or dropped them so quickly. Nothing seemed to work ...

We were in the parking lot heading to our car when I noticed a Fred Astaire Dance Studio. We stopped to look at dancing people through the glass when we heard a friendly voice behind us inviting us to come in. Our future instructor, Dmytro Holovnia, greeted us with a big and pleasant smile and offered to try dancing. Today! Right now! It was very exciting for me, as I always wanted to dance. My daughter was a dark shadow, though, saying that I know how much she hates dancing ... With a calm voice, friendly smile, and professional approach Dmytro easily convinced Zhenya to try. I was very surprised she agreed. Even more, I could not believe my own eyes, when in 15 minutes of the class I saw my daughter smiling. She came to me and said that she wants to come back to the studio again!

Zhenya getting her first ballroom award, with Dmytro Holovnia, Lori Woods. Courtesy of personal family archive

Not long after that, in September 2019, we were invited to come and see the Carolina Classic Dance Competition in Raleigh, NC. My daughter and I were so impressed with Dmytro's professionalism in dancing, performance, and acting skills. This event and Dmytro's beautiful performances with other students affected Zhenya and made her fall in love with dancing.

The transformation my daughter came through was unimaginable! Dmytro is an incredibly talented and professional teacher and coach! Having a lot of experience with children, he knew exactly how to approach my daughter's angry temper and keep her interested to come back to the dance studio. He told me that the first time my daughter did not even want to talk. Sometimes, she showed frustration and even aggression, but he did not give up and continued dealing with all her struggles, believing in her and supporting her. Just for one-year dancing, Zhenya got much stronger physically and mentally; her posture improved dramatically. In the past, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and had frequent pains in her back. During the dance lessons Dmytro held special stretching and strengthening exercises with Zhenya, and she forgot about her pains at all. But most of all, her emotional struggles were gone too, and I see my daughter happy again!

Zhenya and Dmytro Holovnia. Courtesy of personal family archive

Zhenya says that dancing has now become her top priority. She is ready to give up any other habits and activities, but not the opportunity to soar on the parquet, performing her favorite Viennese waltz. Dancing is her life now, and she looks forward to every lesson and event that takes place in the studio.

I will be forever grateful for all that Dmytro Holovnia has done for our little family! He saved my daughter, and he will be a forever hero for my family and other military families who know how hard it can be to lose our loved ones and our children in everyday tragedy.

Selected articles in English immigrants personal story military
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