Magazine article Dance Magazine

One Dancer's Triumph

Magazine article Dance Magazine

One Dancer's Triumph

Article excerpt

Technically, chemotherapy gets the credit for curing Fabrice Lamego's skin cancer--but dance was the real medicine that saved this artist, and kept him fighting for health.

A 29-year-old Guadelupe native, Lamego arrived in New York in 1997 on a French government scholarship. "I love travel, and because of dance, I can," he said. While attending The Ailey School he auditioned for Elisa Monte Dance and soon became a member of the renowned company.

Six months after he joined, Monte created a solo for Lamego, titled Run to the Rock, a tribute to Alvin Alley. When the company returned from a tour of Portugal in August 2001, he had his first indication that something wasn't right. "I came back and I had this coughing," he said. "I just thought because we were in the mountains, it was a cold." Lamego had paid no attention to a small lesion on his neck. But as the cough persisted, he visited his doctor who came back with a startling diagnosis. Five months of chemotherapy began immediately.

The chemotherapy attacked the cancer, but took its toll on Lamego's strong dancer's body. Once capable of rehearsing five hours a day and then performing four to five pieces a night, he lost weight and became too weak to practice. "It was really painful--physically--but painful morally because I couldn't dance anymore," he said. "The company had a tour in South America and I couldn't do anything."

But Monte had already witnessed how the focus on dance--at whatever level--has kept people like Lamego "sane, healthy, and alive. …

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