Ep. 58 Dancing Out of the Darkness with Alignment, Joy, and Zumba with Josette Tkacik

Happy #SeekTheJoy Tuesday!

On the podcast this week is Josette Tkacik - mom, healer, lover of life, a dancer of the soul, and internationally known and renowned Zumba instructor. In this week’s new episode, Josette shares her journey dancing out of the darkness and into healing through alignment, joy, and Zumba.


Josette is incredible, and I can’t wait for you guys to hear this week’s episode. My friend Julie introduced me to Josette, and I honestly cannot wait to go up to Santa Barbara to take one of her classes. Have you been to one of Josette’s classes? If you have, let me know in the comments below. From what I hear it is truly magical.

In this week’s episode Josette shares her incredible story of healing, the diagnosis of advanced and severe Rheumatoid Arthritis that changed her life, and her decision to turn within for answers and heal herself. We have a truly beautiful conversation about listening to your inner voice, paying attention to the signs the universe gives us, and choosing to live your life from a space of alignment. We also chat about the role Zumba has played in her life and her healing, the magic that’s infused in her classes in Santa Barbara (she has anywhere from 150-300 people in her classes!), and how she continues to choose her light to live a life beyond her wildest dreams. Josette also shares with us her plans for 2019 (a world tour is on its way!), joy in her life, and so much more!

This is one episode and conversation you’re not going to want to miss - and I couldn’t imagine a better way to kick off 2019! After you tune in - join the conversation on Instagram Facebook or Twitter!

I believe that when we’re doing what we love, that’s it. That’s what we’re here for. I know that we’re meant to be happy. I know that we’re meant to feel good. For me, dancing is what I love, and the crazy idea to start dancing again put me in my zone.
— Josette Tkacik

Josette has been a dancer her entire life - it’s probably safe to say it’s in her blood. Born in New York, Josette is a first generation American. Her father is from the Netherlands and her mother from the island of Haiti, and her strong Haitian roots in music and dance have served her throughout her life. Josette began dancing seemingly before she could walk, and she began performing at age 3. (You’re going to LOVE the story she shares about this video of her at that age! She knew exactly who she was and what she wanted to do!) Josette truly found a love for dance, movement and expression and she studied classical ballet with several notable companies, including Joffrey Ballet in New York and The Metropolitan Ballet of St. Louis, in St. Louis, MO where she was a company dancer. She also attended Julliard New York, Alvin Ailey, as well as American Ballet Theatre. As a student of the Talent Unlimited Performing Arts School in New York, Josette studied Jazz, Tap, Modern, and various forms of dance techniques. She continued dancing into her college years and was honored to serve as a board member for the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance.

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It was in those moments that I became open to listening to the inner voice that’s always there. The more I listened to that voice, it became almost easy, like going with the flow. As soon as I made the choice and listened, the doors just opened.
— Josette Tkacik

In 2010 while living in South Florida, at the suggestion of a friend Josette attended her first Zumba class. The experience was incredible - and she was hooked right away. She attended every Zumba class she could find, and within three weeks of that first class she became a Licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor. With the mentorship and support of amazing instructors and hundreds of classes under her belt, Josette infused her experiences of dance training, travel, love and passion of life in her class.

At the same time, in January 2011 Josette was suddenly struck with Advanced Rheumatoid Arthritis, an incurable autoimmune disease that was rapidly destroying her joints. You’ll hear it in this week’s episode, she woke up in the middle of the night and her knees were the size of grapefruits. Her prognosis was dim and she was told her life would now consist of flares, pain, and a lifetime of medications aimed at shutting down her immune system all together. Josette was using a walker to move around and she was virtually and completely immobile. She refused to accept the diagnosis that her severe progressive disabling disease had no cure.

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Not ready to give up movement and dance, and determined to heal herself, Josette decided not to take the extensive list of pharmaceuticals the doctors prescribed her. In the midst of what Josette calls the darkest and most painful moment of her life, she decided to try alternatives rather than listen to her well-meaning doctors. She became enveloped in research on disease and natural methods of healing. This was a pivotal moment in her life - even though she could no longer dance, move, or hold her son, she was determined to cure herself.

Josette chose to dig deeper and get quiet, and it was within that space she realized she could no longer ignore the voice inside that was telling her to trust herself. In many ways that internal voice, her soul, reached out to her to dance again. It was in that moment that everything changed. Josette began to connect to her inner light and intuition. She realized that she could heal herself - and she made drastic changes to her diet and lifestyle. She became raw vegan, meditated daily, and removed the stress from her life.

It was also during that time that Josette received a call from the city of Santa Barbara. They asked her to create and direct a Zumba program for the City Parks and Recreation. The thing is, they didn’t know she could hardly move. Determined to dance and move again, Josette showed up to class, swayed from side to side all while in extraordinary pain. It was in those moments of rhythm and movement and celebration, her body, mind and soul began a profound healing.

Within one year of going completely raw vegan, reducing and eliminating stress in her life, and truly living the Zumba lifestyle of joy, non-judgment, and bliss, Josette was able to put her disease behind her. She was completely in remission - and to this day doctors just can’t wrap their minds around it.

When you’re feeling that transcendence, when you’re in the zone, that’s the only way you can shift. You can shift from the fear to - hang on, no, I’m okay! Because even though the pain was still there, there was a light that came in. It’s that shift that Zumba gave me. It gave me the possibility, it put light in the darkness.
— Josette Tkacik

It was also within that year that Josette began attracting a cult like status in Santa Barbara. Droves of people began to flock to her class, and she quickly became the most successful dance or fitness class ever in the history of Santa Barbara. Today, her classes fill to capacity in the historic Carillo Ballroom with an average of 150-300 people in every class. In every class Josette shares the joy, bliss, and passion that brought her out of the darkness. You’ll hear it in this week’s new episode, she is truly a conduit for the magic that flows through that room.

In many ways Zumba was the catalyst in Josette’s healing journey. In less than 3 years Josette has created what is nationally (and internationally!) known as one of the largest daily attended Zumba Fitness classes in the world. Josette is an incredible light - full of joy, passion, and heart. I was so excited to sit down with her for Seek The Joy Podcast, and I know you’re going to love this conversation and leave feeling inspired.

To connect with Josette and learn more visit www.josettetkacik.com and connect with her on Instagram @josettetkacik on Facebook @ZumbainSB and on Twitter @josettetkacik

You can view her course on DailyOM here



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