Nobody puts Damien in the corner

23 November 2021

Damien is dancing his way into all our hearts.

Damien taking dancing lessons. He is wearing a black tshirt, black shorts and black shoes. He is holding the hand of the dance teacher. There are flags in the background.

Few people can remain unswayed by Patrick Swayze’s smouldering moves in Dirty Dancing, and the residents at one Victorian Supported Independent Living (SIL) home were no exception.

The cult classic movie, with its iconic 'nobody puts baby in the corner' line, made a strong impression on one gentleman in particular.

“While everyone in the house just LOVED the movie, one housemate Damien decided he wanted to be Patrick Swayze and ‘get the girl’ in the end,” says Melissa Kemp, Life Without Barriers House Supervisor.  

Damien suffers from arthritis, but that has not held him back from his love of dancing. He and his support worker were often found hitting the dance floors at the local discos and ‘Morning Melodies’, a meal and entertainment package which includes an optional dancefloor (often starring Damien). 

To help him fulfil his goal of performing Swayze-worthy ballroom moves, our team went in search of, and found, a dance school that could meet his needs. Damien has Downs Syndrome as well as arthritis.

Now Damien is living his dream. He is channelling his creativity, and his confidence and independence has grown. He has been enjoying ballroom dancing lessons so much, he willingly sees his physiotherapist to increase his movement – determined as he is to dance like Patrick Swayze.

When he is not practicing his moves, Damien loves Pokémon and Power Rangers, and is partial to a horror movie or two.

He also likes making himself useful around the house, whether it is putting away groceries or helping to make dinner.

Someone who is handy around the home and dances like Swayze? We think it’s only a matter of time before Damien gets the girl.

Image: Damien doing the classic Patrick Swayze care pose.

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