Breast cancer can strike anyone, and Maggie Kurdika, aka “The Bald Ballerina,” wants everyone to know it — whether they dance or not.
In 2014, Kurdika was a thriving 23-year-old professional dancer with the Joffrey Concert Group in New York City. But her career was put on hold that year when she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Now, after a double mastectomy and years of treatment, she is taking her message on the road.
At a recent visit to Capezio’s Manhattan flagship store, she met with shoppers and dance students who heard her message first hand: Breast cancer can strike anyone, even a physically fit, healthy dancer.
“The best advice for aspiring dancers is to listen to your body. If something hurts, take care of it and get it checked out,” stated Kudirka.
During her store visit, a group of students from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visited with Kudirka, who also likes to emphasize the important of not holding anything back in class, rehearsal or performance.”
“Dancers should live in the moment and enjoy each performance as if it were your last,” she said.
Kudirka is continuing to raise funds to pay her own medical bills, which became considerable after years of treatments. Her story has inspired hundreds of people to donate and send positive messages on her website baldballerina.org.
Capezio will be donated a portion of sales during the visit to the Dancers Care Foundation and will auction off a pair of pointe shoes signed by Kudirka.
Marissa Perkins and Danielle Gratkowski contributed to this article.