Friends and Neighbors

At 97, still dancing with passion

 
 
Competitive Dancer Jenny Paulisinecz, who is 97 years old, recently performed a Tango for 200 people. Here she dances with her professional partner and champion dance instructor Alex Koulik at a recent competition at the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne.
Competitive Dancer Jenny Paulisinecz, who is 97 years old, recently performed a Tango for 200 people. Here she dances with her professional partner and champion dance instructor Alex Koulik at a recent competition at the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne.
Robert Rommel

Special to The Miami Herald

Jenny Paulisinecz lives and dances with passion. And at 97 years old she continues to amaze and inspire others through her example.

Paulisinecz is a competitive ballroom dancer who regularly performs the styles of American Smooth, International, and Latin. Her favorite is Tango and she gets cheers whenever she appears on the dance floor.

“She still comes out with first place awards,” said her friend and fellow dancer Diana MacDonald. “And she usually competes against women 20 to 25 years younger.”

Part of the wonder of Paulisinecz’s story is that she took up ballroom dancing at age 60 after a divorce. She was determined not to feel sorry for herself and decided to try something new. So she started taking dance classes.

“Often times in one’s lifetime — and if you are fortunate enough — you meet someone who inspires you. But rarely do you meet exceptionally gifted and talented individuals who are considered beyond extraordinary and who inspire you beyond any feeling you have ever experienced before,” MacDonald said. “Jenny Paulisinecz is that someone who, at 97 years of age, has taught me that age has no boundaries.”

“She has inspired me to continue to live my dream. She’s incredible. Incredible,” MacDonald said.

Paulisinecz found the perfect professional dance partner in Alex Koulik, a worldwide champion dancer. The two can often be found practicing at the VK Dance Studio in North Miami Beach.

“Alex is always astounded by her strong determination to outperform others on the dance floor. He’s extremely giving and just the most amazing teacher ever,” MacDonald said.

Koulik and Paulisinecz have been competing together for five years. They recently performed a Tango in a Showcase at the Goldcoast Ballroom on Lyons Road in Coconut Creek. Koulik’s wife, Tanya, is also an accomplished professional champion dancer from Russia. She also provides instruction to Paulisinecz at the VK Dance Studio.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Paulisinecz has many fans who come out to watch her and who honor her with standing ovations.

MacDonald said after a recent competition, she called to congratulate Paulisinecz on her first place award and beautiful dance technique. Paulisinecz said she couldn’t wait to be dancing again.

“When most people are ready for a brief break after a competition, Jenny is ready to get back on the dance floor,” MacDonald said.

“Her strong will, positive outlook on life, her incredible tenacity and love of dance, are an inspiration to all those who have ever come in contact with her to follow their dream,” MacDonald said of her friend. “Even at 97, with a positive outlook and determination, we can all still fulfill our dreams.”

To be inspired this New Year, visit www.danceplacemiami.com/Video.html. Videos of Paulisinecz dancing are at the bottom of the page.

CELEBRATING MUSIC

Young musicians made their teachers proud at the recent Miami Music Teachers Foundation Gala. The 69 students, from beginners to advanced level, performed at Florida International University's Wertheim Concert Hall through instruments piano, violin, cello, flute, saxophone and voice. The audience was treated to a range of musical selections from classical to jazz.

"It was wonderful to see how the students played as soloists as well as together in different kinds of ensembles such as duets, trios and even quartets! The program had variety and students performed with great musicianship," said Miami Music Teachers Association President Debora Sanchez in a release. She also served as chair of the event.

Participating music teachers included: Marina Berberian, Oscar Diaz Jr., Georgina Fernandez, Margarita Garcia, Marianela Gonzalez, Victoria Ibanez, Zelda Jensen, Cynthia Kam, Laura Keith, Susana Malnati, Rieko Nakashima, Nightingale Ngo, Jackie Perez, Sharon Perry, Sarah Neham Salz, Debora Sanchez, Ludmila Vaserstein, and Megan Walsh.

The MMTA was established in 1934 for “the advancement of music and the growth of young musicians.” Students associated with the group have opportunities to perform at the local, state and national levels. They also have access to scholarships, community service programs, composition competitions, master classes, music marathons, and music examinations among other offerings.

CONGRATULATIONS

Coral Gables attorney Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson, partner at the law firm Colson Hicks Eidson, was honored recently by the Anti-Defamation League with the distinguished 2013 Miami Jurisprudence Award.

Eidson was recognized for his “passion for excellence, high ethical standards, dynamic leadership and social responsibility.”

The ADL, established in 1913, “fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals, and protects civil rights for all” by building positive intergroup relations.

Eidson was honored at the ADL’s annual Miami Jurisprudence Award Luncheon at the InterContinental Miami before a gathering of nearly 500 attendees from Miami’s corporate, legal and financial communities. The event also celebrated the group’s centennial milestone.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at ChristinaMayo05@aol.com.

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