Just over a month ago BYU senior Logan Barnes won the title of National Cabaret Champion at the National DanceSport Championships. Next stop: he will soon be competing in the International Blackpool Championships with the BYU Ballroom Touring Company, where he has danced for the past three years.
While Barnes appears to be at the top of his game now, he came very close to missing out on dance, school and life just a few years ago.
During his sophomore year, Barnes experienced a concussion.
“At first things weren’t too bad,” Barnes recalled. “I had regular concussion symptoms but was still able to go on a mid-semester performing tour.”
However, in February his symptoms drastically worsened. After two grand mal seizures, Barnes was told he could no longer dance, he couldn’t go to school, he couldn’t do anything but wait.
“It felt like all my dreams had been taken away from me in an instant,” he said.
After multiple MRIs, the doctors found a tumor on the front right side of Barnes’s brain. In June, he went in for brain surgery. At the same time he was experiencing significant pain just from walking so he also had major surgery on his hip.
Between these two surgeries, Barnes had 36 staples in his head and was wheelchair-bound for a few months. As he recovered, Barnes began searching for a new major, unsure when or if he could dance again.
Miraculously though, he was able to heal very quickly, and during fall semester the doctors gave him permission to begin dancing again.
In January he was invited back to the Showcase Company, and he soon advanced to the Touring Company, where he has continued to progress as a dancer, winning the title of National Cabaret Champion with his partner Katy Stolle this March.
“BYU not only lets us learn through academic curriculums, they give us the skills and abilities to apply what we learn in real life. The way they teach helps us develop as individuals.”
Barnes said that he has seen the four aims of a BYU Education as a critical part of his experience as a student. The mentors he has had at BYU and his unique experiences have helped him appreciate the people around him and want to give back in any way he can.
One of the ways he has found to give back is to collect used dance equipment, repair it and offer it to those who might not be able to afford it otherwise.
Almost every Saturday, Barnes collects donations and sells what he has repaired for an affordable price.
New ballroom shoes range from 80-100 dollars. Barnes will replace laces and fix up shoes however he can and sell them for 10 dollars a pair. He and his wife have made this into a small business, Impact Dance, not to make any profit themselves but just to cover the cost of hemming clothing and repairing things.
“Money is a stupid excuse not to be able to do what you love.” Knowing the expenses associated with dance, Barnes wants to make dance more accessible, sharing his passion by allowing new dancers to join the sport without it being a financial burden.
Barnes lives his life thinking, “I’d rather be completely exhausted doing something amazing than kind of tired wondering what I could do next.”