Beyond the Playbook: Duluth East’s dance showcase spotlights dancer battling cancer
Last week, dancers from all over the northland head to Duluth East High School to showcase their best work of the year.
For the Duluth East step team, who performs in the metro, it’s a way for families and friends to go down the street to watch dance, from junior varsity teams to the national championship winning University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.
With plenty of dancers all night, the spotlight was on one in particular – Shimia Nord.
In October of 2023, Nord was diagnosed with stage 4 renal cell carcinoma after having already been cleared by doctors months prior.
Despite her diagnosis, Shimia is living every day to the fullest, thanks to those that are around her each day.
“Being on this team and being with everybody has really helped me,” shared Nord, a junior at Duluth East High School. “All my coaches are so supportive and especially my teammates, they really make me happy. They make me laugh and they make me forget that I’m going through all of this. My family’s a very big part too.”
Nord’s strength through her journey has inspired those around her and taught those on her team. Those at the steppers showcase saw just how important of an outlet dance can be.
“It’s emotional for us because just with her lung capacity, our dances take so much endurance and so much physical endorphins to go through your body,” said Kim Chick, the Duluth East head dance coach. “So for her, that’s really the icing on the cake. That’s what we’re here for at the end of the day. It’s a competition, but that’s the mission of the program.”
“I just want to thank everybody in my life right now because they’ve been really supportive and not technically forgetting that I’m going through this, but putting it aside to let me live my life and the rest of it how I want to,” said Nord.
Nord and her team got to hit the floor at the end of the night to show what they’d been working on, and the support was out of this world.
“Well, she has not wavered in one second in the joy that she finds from dance, and that ultimately, I think, is the message that she is going to leave a legacy on the team with,” added Chick.
“Always enjoy what you have while you have it, just because you don’t know how fast it’s gonna be gone or how much time you have left,” concluded Nord.
The GoFundMe for Nord has over 550 donations and amassed over $38,000. The link can be found here.