An 85-year-old tap dancer is inspiring many more to follow in his footsteps.
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Say hello to Arne Mayala.

Game face ON. Image via USA Today/YouTube.


He's 85 years old. He's a U.S. Navy veteran. And just recently, he added something pretty awesome to his repertoire.

Arne is now an aspiring tap dancer.

That's right, a tap dancer! You see, it was always a dream of his to follow the footsteps (quite literally) of Fred Astaire. In fact, it's been on his bucket list for quite some time.

Who doesn't dream about doing this? GIF from "Top Hat."

"I was always amazed by those old movies and the kind of dancing that those guys could do," Arne told the Forest Lake Times. "For years, I kept telling myself that one day I would learn. Then I turned 85 and my wife kinda pushed me into giving it a go."

And everyone is so glad she did! And to think, it all came about by chance. Arne and his wife, Carol, were just on their way to a tax appointment at the accounting firm upstairs. But when they passed the sign for Dance Tech Studios, Carol knew they had to check it out.

Now Arne makes the 40-mile trip to Forest Lake, Minnesota, every week, more motivated than ever to follow his passion and continue getting better. He adds, "My plan is to keep working hard and see where this adventure takes me."

This feels pretty hypnotic. GIF via Kare 11.

That's why Arne is also very much an inspiring tap dancer.

He's living proof that it's never too late to try something new and that anything is possible if you go after what you love.

"The day he came in for his first lesson, he wasn't feeling well," recalls studio owner, Robin Lind, to local news station KARE 11. "It just really touched my heart ... seeing him go from having a bad day and what dance can do to someone's life."

Arne putting on a show for the crowd. GIF via Kare 11.

When you're part of such a powerful transformation like that, it'd be a shame not to share it with as many people as possible. Well, that's exactly what Robin did.

Robin wanted other seniors out there to feel that same magic feeling Arne feels when he dances.

That's when she decided to start a dance program at her mother's assisted living center. And it has been a rousing success, to say the least.

"I was told it was the largest turnout the center had ever had at an event," Robin told Today.com. "I hope more studios will consider these programs. You're never too old to pursue your dreams."

Absolutely, Robin.

Arne's hat knows what's up. Image via USA Today/YouTube.

Dance has the power to do incredible things.

It lets you meet new people, exercise, and boost your self-confidence. But it also lets you communicate the most complex emotions in a way that's truly universal. No wonder it's loved by people of all ages, genders, nationalities, religions, abilities — you name it! We all move differently, yet we're all speaking the same language.

That's the beauty of dance and part of why there's no art form quite like it. Where else can you express yourself through movement and end up with something truly moving?

For more on Arne's story, you can give this a watch:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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