Calhoun, 46, who started line dancing in 2008, says he fell into it by accident when a cousin and a few friends wanted to lose some weight.
“Seeing my friends on top of the epidemic of childhood diabetes and obesity in our community really put me into action,” said Calhoun, who is known as the “line dance king” and “Mr. Cardio-Tone.”
Dancing for Calhoun was nothing new. He began at age 4, aspiring to move like Michael Jackson and James Brown.
It was in 1991, however, when he suffered a disabling stroke as an adult that dance took on new meaning.
His short- and long-term memory was damaged. Doctors told him he would develop dementia. After 20 years of on-and-off recovery, the left side of his body is still weaker than the right.
Despite his cognitive impairment, Calhoun was determined to stay healthy.
“Constant movement became therapy for me,” he said. “I have to do certain things on task, like count and follow the rhythms, so it forced me to concentrate.
“Part of my brain was closing down, but dancing forced me to think and use my brain,” said Calhoun, who boasts that few can outdance him, “but none can outlast me.”
On Jan. 26 at 1 p.m., he will compete with seven other personal trainers and fitness instructors in the Fitness FaceOff at CrossRoadsNews’ annual Health and Wellness Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest on the Main Stage in front of Sears on the lower level.
This will be his second entry. Last year, he excited the audience with a lively routine.
When he is not competing, he shares his energy with kids and adults at Spelman College, Torch Fitness, Southwest Arts Center, Decatur Family YMCA and day care centers. He teaches about 30 hours per week and his students sweat through hour-long but fun workouts that include 10 to 12 line dances.
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