Three years ago, Tahoe Forest Hospital, the Northern Nevada community and the dance and art world-at-large, came together on behalf of L. Martina Young, dance artist and recipient of Nevada’s highest arts honor, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
The former director of dance at University of Nevada, Reno, was wheelchair-bound and without health insurance in 2009. Martina was in severe need of total bilateral hip replacements.
Martina began noticing physical changes in 2006. Able to optimize her own movement self-analysis and available therapies, Martina managed to maintain her dance work, teaching schedule, and writing.
By 2009, however, Martina was diagnosed with degenerative hips.
That summer she found herself barely able to walk off stage following what would be a last performance. That fall, she was wheelchair bound. Total hip replacement was unavoidable.
In 2010 Martina’s situation was made known to Robert Schapper, now CEO of Tahoe Forest Hospital.
Schapper, along with CFO Crystal Betts, recognized Martina as a working American artist without access to affordable healthcare.
A monthly and affordable payment plan was made available to Martina, making hip replacement accessible.
Community efforts led by Martina’s fellow artists and professional colleagues quickly emerged. A grassroots fundraising organization, The Bone on Bone Fundraiser was formed, initiating several fundraising efforts. The dance and theater community created performances, the visual arts community held art auctions, and an evening of jazz by members of the jazz music community raised enough monies to begin procedures.
On April 6, 2010 Martina was admitted to Tahoe Forest Hospital where a team led by Dr. Jeffery Dodd performed anterior bilateral total hip replacement.
The four-day post-surgery hospital stay provided Martina the care and encouragement needed to launch a swift and steady recovery. By the end of May, Martina was able to perform a 3-minute dance performance for the Japanese Hanamatsuri Flower Festival in Reno.
While Martina’s body is still adapting to her new hips, her ongoing progress is evident.
Now, in 2013, Martina prepares a 3-part installment of full dance work, marking and celebrating 25 years as a Nevada-based artist and her return to dance performance.
“SWAN: a poetical inquiry in dance, text, & memoir,” with music collaborator David Strother, a Los Angeles-based electric violinist, is her “thank-you” and artistic gift to the communities that made her continued work possible.
The first part will take place on Oct. 18 and 19 at the Riverside Artist Lofts in Reno, Nev. Tickets are $35 and are exclusively available at www.apoeticbody.com.