Burlington's 'Dance Walker' keeps her own beat - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington's 'Dance Walker' keeps her own beat

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It's not out of the ordinary for people to be walking in the Queen City. But there's one woman who walks at her own beat. Meet Donna Marie Paquette, better known as, the Dance Walker.

Paquette's impressive moves aren't freestyle. She choreographs each walk, making sure to move her muscles as much as possible for the best work out.  That's because this is about much more than dancing, this is Donna Marie's story of survival. "They didn't know I had a tumor for many years -- it went down three layers," she said.

Doctors removed her tumor but when she woke up from brain surgery, her memory was erased, leaving her to survive with a traumatic brain injury. "I couldn't walk, I couldn't talk," she added.

Since 2005 Paquette slowly started learning everything all over and says exercise is key to her health now.  In the beginning, just walking slowly, then a little faster.

"Then I started speed walking and then I started dancing it," she said with a laugh.

There are a few rules the Dance Walker has to follow:

  1. There has to be good music.
  2. You have to lift your feet and move all your muscles at the same time.
  3. Have fun.

Paquette still has double vision and a limp and she says she actually draws less attention by dancing instead of walking. "When I walk without my glasses, people think I'm drunk," she said.

This 57-year-old Dance Walker moves along like a well-trained 70's roller skater with a smile.
Viewers may wonder what's in those headphones that gets her to move like that.

Now this reporter has to admit what was in my head when we were dancing -- (music) "I just met you, and this is crazy..."  -- a favorite tune of the Dance Walker.  But the tune on this day -- Bob Dylan.

Paquette knows things don't always play out like you hope.  She has a new tumor in her brain stem and doctors say she may only have five years to live, but even this tough news doesn't stop her.

Reporter Gina Bullard: How do you keep such a great attitude?

Donna Marie Paquette: I accept things the way they are.

Not letting life spin her, but instead -- taking the lead.

For more about the Dance Walker -- click here.

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