CEDAR RAPIDS — Dance can be an art form or a sport. It can be a hobby, a form of release or an escape.
For sisters Ariana and Jenaya Devereaux, it has been so much more.
It has been their life.
Their devotion and passion has taken them on a journey where they have had ups and downs within their love of dance.
Ariana, a 2017 Xavier graduate, had to take a break from taking classes at The Dancer’s Edge because of a severe foot injury that cost her to miss 19 months of rehearsals.
Jenaya, a sophomore at Xavier, also suffered a foot injury that took her out of dance for five months. She still is not fully healed.
Ariana’s injury progressed from tendinitis in her peroneal tendon and Achilles tendon when she continued to dance on it for more than a year without taking care of herself. The injury worsened into an overdeveloped peroneus muscle, a bone that was cutting into her tendon, causing loose ligaments and instability in her ankle.
Unlike her sister, a fluke fall on stage caused Jenaya’s injury the evening of her final Saturday recital in June. It led to an ankle sprain, bone contusion, bruised heel bone, four torn tendons and chronic nerve damage.
“Losing dance taught me a lot about myself and a lot about who I wanted to become,” Ariana said, “It made me realize that I’m more than just a dancer and it also showed me that my true passion all along is teaching kiddos to dance.”
Shannon Devereaux, Ariana and Jenaya’s mother, has supported them through it all.
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“They have come through this journey learning that dance is great, but God, family and friends are so much more important in life,” Shannon said.
Ariana will continue her dance journey as a teacher at The Dancers’ Edge next summer alongside studying physical therapy at the University of Iowa. Jenaya will continue to do what she loves as soon as she is healed.