CARBONEAR, NL — A boardwalk in Carbonear has become something of a dance floor for one resident.
Cassandra Walsh-Flood has been taking her dancing skills to the public’s eye for a couple of weeks now. She, and sometimes a friend or two, can often be seen on the community boardwalk, dancing to whatever beat they have playing through their speaker. It’s there where Walsh-Flood said she finds the most inner peace, when she’s dancing and letting out all her emotions through her movements.
Walsh-Flood was first spotted by some passersby in March and early April of 2018, which led to several videos of the woman being posted to social media. The videos garnered plenty of attention, but she says it didn’t quite capture the purpose behind the decision to dance in such a public place.
CHANCE, or cheer dance, is a dancing movement that Walsh-Flood came up with as a means of channeling positive energy, and surrounding herself in an environment where she feels free to do whatever it takes to keep her mind in the right place.
“I’ve studied dance my whole life, so it’s just something I really love to do," she said. "It’s always been an avenue for me to just feel good about myself, no matter what was going on in my life. I sadly lost my mother in 2016, so, following that, my anxiety sort of twisted into a depression that was really overwhelming, and debilitating. My kids have moved out, too, so I was in this house all by myself, surrounded by negative thoughts and emotions. All I could do that made me feel better was to dance – it was either dance, or fall back to past addictions, so here I am. I’m doing something that makes me feel good, in an environment where I feel free instead of closed in. It’s really changed the way I think about life as a whole.”
It was Walsh-Flood’s mother who brought her to the Conception Bay North region in 2010, when she moved to the area from Ontario to care for her mother. Before the move, she was a managing partner for a pub and night club in Ontario, so her love for electronic music is something she’s carried with her from the mainland to her current home in Carbonear. Often, this is the type of music Walsh-Flood can be seen dancing to, though she’ll admittedly find herself moving to the beat of any song.
Although she’s been boardwalk dancing for several weeks now, the first few times she was spotted caused quite a commotion for her, which involved the presence of RCMP.
“People saw me, and a lot of people thought I must have been wasted, or high," she said. "Not only that, there were people pulling over to take my picture or take a video, so traffic was a little crazy there for a bit. I didn’t mind people taking my picture and stuff – the more the merrier if you ask me, but the next thing I knew, there were some police rolling up. When they saw I was totally sober, they got a kick out of it, and let me do my thing. It’s just crazy that people think I’m under the influence because I’m out here enjoying myself – I don’t need to be drunk or high, music is my drug.”
With that in mind, Walsh-Flood has seen nothing short of positive reactions from people, and said that some have even stopped to join in every once in a while.
“Sometimes people will just be out for a walk, and when they pass by they’ll join in for a few seconds, just to have a bit of fun. They have a laugh, they move on, and I keep doing what I’m doing. At the end of the day we both enjoy ourselves, and that’s the main thing. If someone goes home with a smile on their face because of me, then I’m doing something right.
“Sometimes you can tell there are people who don’t really get it who are laughing, and maybe taking a picture, but you know what? They still stopped to look, and I still managed to make them smile. It’s all positivity here, no matter what or who comes by.”
Walsh-Flood said her sons, after seeing their mother across social media, have been nothing short of supportive, and have taken to social media to express that.
Walsh-Flood can often be seen on Carbonear’s boardwalk on a daily basis, several times throughout any given day. Usually, she tries to be there in the afternoons around 3 or 4 p.m., and during the night starting at around 9 p.m., and invites anyone and everyone to come join her if they feel like CHANCE may be what they need to make a positive change in their lives.