By Janee Law
On Dec. 3, Jose and Marina Palacios danced for the first time publicly since Jose was diagnosed with cancer in June, after which he underwent strenuous radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
The occasion last week was the grand re-opening of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Huntington Station, which the couple took over in July, and a celebration that the treatments worked and Jose is cancer-free.
“This party represents a new chapter we are starting, a new day [and] a new tomorrow,” said Jose, 34.
The event began with a toast and an official ribbon cutting with members of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce.
Along with food, drinks and introductory dance lessons to the foxtrot, hustle, salsa and more, the evening included several performances.
Jose and Marina, 32, who have been married for more than a year, opened the dance floor with the samba and studio instructor Kyle Solis, 22, of Coram, performed the waltz with partner Kimberley Parker, 26, of Smithtown.
About 30 people attended the event, including students Dan Smith, 57, and Donna Cole-Smith, 58, of Cold Spring Harbor, who also took to the dance floor performing a West Coast swing.
“I think that dance here is a great opportunity for people to go out [and] to be social because when you know the basics or know how to dance you feel so much better,” Dan said.
During the introductory dance lesson, people of all ages participated, including 8-year-old Casandra Reilly, of Lloyd Neck, who’s been a student for two months and said dancing at there is “amazing.”
Open for seven years, the studio, located at 132 W Jericho Turnpike, never officially closed prior to the grand re-opening, Marina said.
“It was unbelievable because we always wanted to have a studio and it was such a spontaneous decision,” Marina said.
After they were offered the business in April, they faced many blessings and trials, Jose said. With the birth of their son, Valentin, in April, Jose was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June and the couple officially took over the studio in July.
“I think it was the most challenging part of our lives, at the same time most exciting,” said Marina, adding that Jose became cancer-free the last week of November.
“I think being together, the love we feel for each other and the family has kept us strong,” Jose said, adding that kicking off the studio signifies an end to the struggle they faced. “We are going to have new energies, new vibes, let go of the past [and] learn from the mistakes. It’s a new chapter.”