Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

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TidBits About Donna #59 Dancer Extraordinaire

Meet Paula Nieroda 

Paula was David’s dance instructor for almost two years. She not only guided him through his dance steps, but she assessed his every movement to help him regain his balance.

Paula is much more than a dance instructor.

She is a wonderfully sensitive and compassionate young woman.

David and I took lessons with Paula once a week for nearly two years.



We learned a number of ballroom dances, including the Cha-Cha, the Tango, and the Swing – all very quick dances, which we did not do so quickly. We learned the Waltz and the Fox Trot, too. We stumbled around the dance floor amid the elegant contestants who were preparing for their next performance. They twirled and glided and dipped and swooped with feet barely touching the floor, while we firmly planted one foot and then the other in slow succession hoping that we would not topple over. We never did.

Paula taught David form – focusing on his posture. “Renew! Renew! Renew!” was her mantra – the reminder to David to stand taller.

When Paula moved to another studio, too far from us, we did not continue our lessons because we knew we could never replace her.

Paula is also a performance dancer and has competed and won many dance contests.  In the video below you will see Paula in action. In a pink fairy-princess gown, she glides over the floor with her partner, George Valasquez, who performs an amazing routine with only one leg.

Paula is truly an inspiration.

Watch this video to see what I mean. Truly AMAZING!!!!!

(Pictures compliments of ME.)

(Video compliments of YouTube.)

I’d love to hear from you, so please post your thoughts in the comment section of my blog. Just look below in the tag section. You will see the link for COMMENTS.


September 3, 2012 - Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , , , , , ,


  1. I still hear Paula’s voice whenever I’m standing or walking. She taught me how subtle changes of the body can have profound effects on balance. Like all great athletes, she is serious about her craft and knows what the body can do. She has heart, as the video shows. She is truly an amazing woman!

    Comment by David Figurski | September 3, 2012 | Reply

  2. I’m impressed! It’s really cool to see you standing together. The picture of you two is beautiful. It makes me happy to see David standing on his own.

    Comment by Betty | September 4, 2012 | Reply

  3. Hi Betty,
    Yes, I guess David standing would be new to you. When you were here, he couldn’t stand at all.
    Miss you.
    Hugs, Donna

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | September 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Donna,
      This is absolutely beautiful and inspirational! I watched it with Steve and of course our conversation turned to you and David. I’m sorry she has moved away…looking at how David is standing with you, I can see how this was wonderful for the two of you.
      I think of you and David often. It has been too long that we have not connected.
      Much love,

      Comment by Judy | September 11, 2012 | Reply

      • Judy,

        I am glad that you and Steve got a chance to see David’s dance instructor in action. She is wonderful. I want to see you both. I really miss you guys. Can you come down? Or could we all meet for a dinner halfway? Any suggestions?

        Love, Donna

        Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | September 11, 2012

      • Hi Donna,
        Would love to see you! I’m going through a bit of testing right now but as soon as I’m given the green light I will touch base and see what we can come up with. Are you still checking email?
        Much love,

        Comment by Judy | September 17, 2012

  4. Well -you brought tears to my eyes. She is so much more than a wonderful dancer. To see the pride and dignity in the face of George as he dances was wonderful. I can see why no one could take her place. You and David are beautiful together. All the best to you both. Love, Colleen

    Comment by Colleen | September 29, 2012 | Reply

  5. Colleen, Thanks so much for visiting my site and for your kind words. David and I met on the dance floor.
    Hugs, Donna

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | September 29, 2012 | Reply

  6. […] blog received more than 5,000 views in 2012. My most popular blog entry was TidBits About Donna #59 Dancer Extraordinaire about Paula Nieroda, a most talented and compassionate dancer. She was David’s dance […]

    Pingback by Musings by Donna #51 My Blog 2012 in Review « Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog | December 31, 2012 | Reply

  7. I just watched this video…..amazing and beautifully danced. I am one who loves dance. Donna and Dave, your wonderful friend Paula is like an angel who came into your lives and helped you through a difficult journey. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Comment by Eileen Conboy | August 10, 2013 | Reply

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