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Marka Danielle Rodgers

Marka Danielle has a 50+ year history of Dance Performance and Dance Education. She began dancing in her hometown of Baltimore, MD studying and performing in local Ballet and Musical Theater companies. She then moved to Boston as a full scholarship student at the Boston Conservatory. She auditioned for & succeeded in receiving a full scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School where she was invited to join the infamous "Ailey II". But when Marka was offered a job teaching Modern Ballet in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to go abroad. For nearly 8 years Marka created a fabulous career in Teaching, Concert Dance, Television and Musical Theatre, including international productions of “La Cage Aux Folles, “High Society”, “Sugar” and the amazing Italian Musical, “El Diluvio que Viene”. Marka became a Firefighter and EMT in the 1990s when a need for group health insurance forced her to change careers. During this time, she enjoyed serving the public in a whole different way.

In the last 24 years, Marka has suffered 2 severe Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries, the last one in June of 2012, left her an “incomplete quadriplegic”, living her life in a wheelchair. One of Marka’s doctors told her: "I don't know how you are functioning the way you are… you shouldn't be.” To this day all of Marka’s doctors and therapists believe it was her Ballet training that kept her from being a non-functioning quadriplegic!

Over the years, Marka has used her dance training and all her other experiences with movement and medicine to create an innovative approach to Ballet and Rehabilitation. She refined her understanding of body mechanics and combined strengthening techniques and flexibility exercises to continue her dance career and live a partially independent life. Although she still has physical limitations, is a full-time wheelchair user, she has progressed far beyond the expectations of the medical community. Now she uses these experiences, to help others by teaching Ballet in the Charleston area and Peer Mentoring. Marka has been a Peer Mentor for Roper Hospital and MUSC along wth the SC Spinal Cord Injury Association for the last 5 years.