My heart is heavy with sorrow and tears; as I write this article remembering my former dance partner and ex-husband, David Van Hamilton. On September 23, 2017 at age 69, David went on to heaven. I spent the last week of his life with him in a hospital in Connecticut, believing for a miracle but it did not take place. No words can adequately describe how one feels when someone you loved and danced with dies. Grief tries to take you over, and you push through one day at a time to overcome the feelings. I had recently gone through hurricane Irma in South Florida where I am currently living. This alone was incredible with no power and no water for days, and then flying to Connecticut to be at David’s side. But no one should die alone, and being with him was all I could think about. This is a tribute to David’s life and some of his journey.
There were many wonderful times I remember dancing with David. We worked hard and long hours, rehearsing and continuing to teach in New York City. Together we were finalists and won many United States National Championships in American Smooth, and Theatrical/Exhibition. We were also privileged to be invited and compete in the British Professional Invitational Exhibition Championship in Blackpool, England in 1983. This was where we performed our famous signature piece “A Matador’s Fantasy” using dual capes in the choreography. We won the Ohio Star Ball Exhibition Championship twice, in 1982, and 1985, which is when we retired. During our career, we made several television appearances, and toured in our Adagio Nightclub Act throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. For two years we performed as the featured Adagio Team in the famous eastside New York City nightclub, Cachaca.
He was a Vietnam War Veteran, and was a great fan of football and baseball. David had a great sense of humor, and was always positive no matter what his circumstances were. In 2007, after I had battled Lyme disease and came out of a wheel chair, David traveled from Atlanta where he was living to Connecticut to see me dance again which was a total miracle. He decided to move there, and another miracle took place, David and I danced together after 22 years, and did a few local ballroom studio shows. Since that time we were constantly in close contact and great friends. He was like an Uncle to my daughter Autumn, encouraging her to pursue her dancing art of ballet.