SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Martha Graham once said, “dance is the language of the hidden soul.” One Malta woman proved that stepping onto the dance floor at Saratoga’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio was the key to keeping love alive in her life.
Ten years ago, Mary Ellen Walsh needed an outlet as she cared for her husband suffering from Alzheimer’s. “I just needed to think about where I needed to put my foot and where I needed to put my foot next,” Walsh said. “So rather than bringing the stress home to him, I figured okay, I have a lot of energy, I need to get rid of it. So I took dance.”
Dance became a form of therapy for Mary Ellen, even after her husband passed away in 2012. “To me, dance is a part of loving life,” Walsh said.
A few years later, Mary Ellen’s life took a surprising turn and brought her to Mitch Miller. They had previously been passing acquaintances through their children’s sports teams but reconnected by chance on an airplane many years later. As the romance blossomed, Mary Ellen always kept dance as a pillar in her life.
“It went from being something that was relieving stress to something that was a source of joy and comfort,” Walsh said. Mitch became her dance partner at three of her children’s weddings and eventually when the couple married in 2017.
“I just wish it had happened earlier,” Miller said. “We did [the wedding] outside, and it was raining, and we had to gamble whether it was going to clear up or not. We took the gamble, and it did. And I think that’s the same thing with our marriage. It was a gamble, and it worked!”
Miller joked that he’s more of a “Superbowl guy” than a “halftime guy,” but for Mary Ellen, he’d do anything to make her smile, even dance. When News10 ABC’s Stephanie Rivas asked the couple how their first dance went at their wedding, Miller quickly admitted the truth.
“It was pretty lousy,” Miller said. “I wasn’t going to say that part!” Mary Ellen laughed. Mary Ellen said the first dance she learned during her lesson back in 2012 was foxtrot. She looks to find joy in the little moments during every dance and still takes in the music one step at a time.
“You know, of course, it’s Valentine’s Day, and it can be romantic. But to me, it goes beyond that. It’s about just enjoying life.” Walsh said. Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Saratoga Springs is currently accepting registration for adults’ and childrens’ classes. Childrens’ classes begin Saturday, March 26th.