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Mourning Daughter, A Guatemalan Couple Find Healing In Dance

Fabio Rodolfo Vasquez, right, poses with a fan at a promotional event outside a coffee shop, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Vasquez and his wife, Maria Moreno, entered an online dance contest during the new coronavirus pandemic to help them cope with the recent death of their daughter  and won it. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Fabio Rodolfo Vasquez, right, poses with a fan at a promotional event outside a coffee shop, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Vasquez and his wife, Maria Moreno, entered an online dance contest during the new coronavirus pandemic to help them cope with the recent death of their daughter and won it. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Jenifer Vsquez was 32 when she died of renal insufficiency in June, leaving behind grief-stricken parents already struggling with the isolation of the coronavirus lockdown in Guatemala.

Jenifer Vsquez was 32 when she died of renal insufficiency in June, leaving behind grief-stricken parents already struggling with the isolation of the coronavirus lockdown in Guatemala.

Then Fabio Rodolfo Vsquez heard about a dance contest organized on social media, Covi Dance 2020. The 50-year-old shoemaker thought it might be a good idea, but he had doubts. For a week he and Mara Moreno, his wife, mulled it over.

Would it be respectful to the memory of our daughter? they wondered. Was it too soon?

I wanted us to do it to come out of the depression and the feeling of being caged in that weve endured during the pandemic, Vsquez said. And to deal with the pain that weve suffered.

The couple met in a Guatemala City club more than 30 years ago when they won a dance contest. Throughout their marriage they have enjoyed dancing together, especially disco but also salsa, merengue and cumbia.

Recalling how their daughter always loved to watch them trip the light fantastic, Vsquez recorded a home video in which he danced to The Flirts’ Danger. It became an overnight sensation. Moreno later was featured in a second video, and the couple won the contests top prize.

I think our daughter must be happy to see us happy, Vsquez said. She supported us … and would always tell us to do what we love the most.

Their videos have gone viral, and their moves have cheered up many who have replicated them. And they have inspired generosity: So far, a restaurant has given them a one-year supply of chicken and a supermarket offered them milk and other groceries.

People have liked it and have realized that weve done this to uplift others, Vsquez said.

Im not making money out of this or asking for anything, but if people have it in their hearts to give us something, I accept from the bottom of my heart,” he added. “During this pandemic, you have to accept everything from the heart because these are things that come from God.

The couple have also been praised for their resilience and for bringing joy to many amid their pain.

My dad used to say that music uplifted the spirit and made you feel young, Vsquez said. You can be old, your skin all wrinkled up, but being young is within you, and music can revive you.

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While nonstop news about the effects of the coronavirus has become commonplace, so, too, have tales of kindness. One Good Thing is a series of AP stories focusing on glimmers of joy and benevolence in a dark time. Read the series here: https://apnews.com/OneGoodThing

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Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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