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Exploring Your Passions Through Dance

Meeting Dr. Chris Hanson

By Christine Trask

During my birthday month of June, I was granted the opportunity and joy of meeting with Dr. Chris Hanson, a salsa dancer and chiropractor in our community. We met at Maeve’s, a cute, comforting Northeast Minneapolis café with a five-star review. What follows is my story of our meeting.

Mike, a close friend of Chris, describes him as one of the most driven people he knows, someone with the mental and physical tools to excel at anything he puts his mind to. He can play multiple instruments, including bass, drum, and saxophone. He has a liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota, has earned a black belt in traditional karate, and speaks fluent Spanish. He’s a passionate rock climber, loves spending time with his family, is a very caring friend, and is a professional chiropractor of his own clinic, NE Community Chiropractic.

Meeting Chris for the first time, I wanted to know more about this young, vibrant man with an infectious smile. Chris is the middle child of three. He and his brother take after their father; they all have a love for comedy, especially Mel Brooks films. Chris and his sister take after their mother in their profound love for people, which is why they both work in patient care. His mother works as a personal trainer, and sadly, his father passed when Chris was eighteen years old.

Chris only started taking salsa lessons in August of 2013 but describes his relationship with dance as an instant love affair. He found himself so at home surrounded by others who shared his love for music and movement that he remembers leaving Social Dance Studio after his second lesson thinking to himself, “I've found my people.” He loves dancing for its beautiful movement, incredible music, and for the opportunity to create and share joy with others from the dance community. Many of his dance partners have remarked on his contagious smile and that he is almost always singing while dancing, which comes naturally to him, as he speaks Spanish and loves to practice when he goes out dancing.

Spanish was a part of Chris’s grade-school curriculum. He so enjoyed Mexican food that he made it his goal to learn Spanish well enough to order using the Spanish language—a goal he has accomplished and then some. Over time, Chris has developed a great love for Spanish-speaking cultures and their values. He admires their love of community, family, and their honest yet reverent view of life. One of his favorite songs to dance to, “El día de mi suerte” by Hector Lavoe, tells the tale of lost family members and growing up impoverished. Despite his challenges, Lavoe continues to believe that one day his day of luck will arrive.

Chris shared with me a memory from his volunteer trip to Costa Rica. He was there for a month’s time providing chiropractic care to Costa Ricans in remote areas of the country. His second week volunteering, a tired and worn woman in her early sixties arrived at his treatment table. She was at her wits’ end and in terrible pain from the stress and demands of caring for orphaned children. It was her day of luck. Chris patiently listened to her challenges and provided care to unwind the stress in her spine and nervous system, allowing her body to return to a relaxed state of functioning. The next day, she arrived with tears in her eyes. It was the first time in longer than she could remember that she had slept eight hours and awoke without a severe headache and neck pain. In her hands she carried a thank-you card that read, “Que el Señor lo bendiga y lo proteja siempre por esa labor tan grande que usted realiza.” (“May God bless and protect you forever for the great work that you do.”)

Chris is able to combine many of his life’s passions into both his work and dance: community, movement, Spanish, fitness, and joy. May we all someday be so lucky. In the meantime, fellow dancers, pick a song, pick a dance, and dance to your heart’s content.