If it is true that dancers — as with all performing artists — like nothing more than to be challenged, then 11-year old Georgina Paez is the poster child.
This rising star from West Kendall is known to be a quick study — artistically and academically. But now she is facing a new lesson — the importance of patience and resilience.
Earlier this year, after winning in the Starbound Dance National Competition in San Antonio, TX, Paez learned she had to have urgent back surgery. She was diagnosed with high-grade spondalalythesis, a condition in which one bone in her lower spine was sliding forward over the bone below it.
“Needless to say this was devastating to Georgina, as she repeatedly states ‘dance is my passion,’ said her mom, Barbara Munoz.
The painful condition apparently came about due to the training she was doing in preparation for dance competitions. The good news, the surgery she underwent in August was a success. The bad news is there is a long and enduring recovery still ahead. And this is the point where, according to her mom, “Georgina has had to learn a difficult step — that some things just can’t be rushed.”
It started with the anticipated four-day stay in the hospital that turned into seven days.
“And now, as her recovery enters month-four, it already seems like a lifetime to her,” Munoz continued.
Paez was eagerly anticipating finally be able to begin physical therapy and get back to dancing again. So when her surgeon would not sign off on releasing her until mid-February 2018, Paez was devastated.
“I know I’ll be back on the dance floor and doing all my dances again — and I know I’ll even better than before,” Paez said.
Meanwhile, with her mom’s support — literally and figuratively, Paez manages to keep center stage on several low-impact acting and modeling gigs despite being in constant pain.
Such projects have included a mid-November photo shoot at the Faena Miami Beach Hotel for an art and fashion magazine, set to come out during Miami’s Art Basel. Paez also recently had key roles in several independent films including “Vow: No Way Out” and “Clean Up on Aisle Nine.”
In addition, Paez just participated in the DAMA Modeling School Fashion School in Miami, at which she modeled for several designers, having been personally instructed by DAMA School Founder Damaris Aguiar, a Caribbean beauty queen, international model, and business woman. The annual event was hosted by Macy’s, Bella Beauty, Glamour Star, and other sponsors.
And last but certainly not least, also in early December, Paez stepped up as a contestant in the USA National Miss South Florida pageant.
Her first pageant ever, she was selected from among 100 young ladies — a much deserved distraction from the recent news of her extended recovery process and delay in getting back to her true passion — dance.
“This is something new and exciting for me and perhaps the first of many wonderful moments for me to experience,” said a beaming Paez.
Meanwhile, as a Kingdom Academy student in Kendall since pre-K, Paez continues to be home schooled due to limitations prescribed by the surgeon — and remains on the Honor Roll.
Paez said that, throughout the process, “Kingdom Academy has been like a family to me.”
Her mom agrees and is grateful that principal Elena Navarro visited Paez in the hospital and continues to assist her by ensuring Paez keeps pace with her fellow students. Paez is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, Future Business Leaders, and Ambassador Leadership Program.