Larisa Chaddick had been dancing Salsa for 14 years when she made the Salsa for Beginners instructional program with us.
During her dancing time, she trained with, among others, Enio & Terryl Cordoba, Franciso, Joby & Luis Vazquez and Eddie Torres. She appeared in Latin American Showcases and on TV.
A fluent Spanish speaker, she was assistant editor of Salsa News International Magazine and frequently undertook research into Latin American music, dance and culture to complement her BA in Spanish and MA in Latin American Literature.
She taught thousands of people to dance the Latino way: with feeling.
Just two weeks after shooting finished on the Salsa program, Larisa discovered that she had breast cancer.
After an operation and many months of aggressive chemotherapy, she seemed to have successfully beaten the cancer. However, the treatment had left her with avascular necrosis of the hips - her hip joints had been worn away because of the high levels of drugs used to treat the cancer. She underwent operations to attempt to halt the deterioration of her hips, however, they were not entirely successful and as a result, she had to have one full hip replacement; a particularly cruel blow for someone who devoted so much of her time and energy to dancing and teaching others to dance.
After that operation she recovered well and enjoyed a couple of happy, cancer-free years. However, the cancer returned, and this time, tumors were found on her bones, in her lungs and in her liver.
She fought a magnificent fight, was dignified, charming and witty as ever, even when enduring agonizing therapy. She truly was inspirational.
She left us on September 16th 2006, just one day short of her 39th birthday.
DanceClass.com regularly makes donations in her memory to Breast Cancer Research charities. Perhaps you could take a moment to click on the link to the Breast Cancer site and click to help fund free mammograms.