University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

August 16, 2018

Dental school staff member takes on dancing, sailing

March 13, 2017

Dental school staff member takes on dancing, sailing

Faculty/Staff Spotlight

Topic: Campus News

From ballroom dancing to sailing, Julie Kelsea's free time is full of adventure. As a health information analyst at the School of Dentistry, Kelsea spends most of her days working with patient records.

"We are the repository for all incoming patient records and we also handle all outgoing records. I particularly specialize in duplication, which is making a copy of the record to either provide to the patient or a third party of their choosing," she says.

Kelsea says her favorite part of her job at the University of Michigan is "the teamwork."

"I work with an amazing team of people," she said.

Julie Kelsea, a health information specialist at the School of Dentistry, enjoys ballroom dancing and sailing in her spare time. (Photo courtesy of Julie Kelsea)

However, when she isn't in the office, you can find Kelsea in the ballroom dancing her now preferred dance, West Coast Swing. Kelsea had taken a summer's worth of lessons and after reconnecting with an old high school friend who was taking lessons himself, decided to take up dancing again.

"I actually hated it at first. It was just torture the first about two months. I had to force myself to go. But then people started asking me to dance and inviting me to other dances, and I thought, this is okay," she says.

Now, Kelsea attends up to three dances a month and has made a recent change to include dancing even more in her day-to-day life.

"My partner and I decided recently that we weren't making any progress in our technique so we decided to start practicing almost every night," she says.

According to Kelsea, the ballroom dance community is very welcoming and accepting of all dancers. "They're some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. They all remember when they started and it's very inclusive. They ask new people to dance, there's same-sex couples, people from all over the world. It kind of is a place where everyone can come together," she says.

Ballroom dance has become an escape for Kelsea. "When you're dancing, you can't really think about anything else. You have to focus. You have to be present and in the moment," she says.

Not only does Kelsea ballroom dance, but she enjoys sailing as well, although it is a relatively newfound love of hers.

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"My partner had been sailing for 30 years when I met him. I had only been in a sailboat only once before and it was not a positive experience," she says. "It was when I was about 8. We were stuck on Lake Erie during a thunderstorm. So, when I first met him and he said, 'Let's go out sailing,' I had a really strong fear of sailing."

Kelsea worked through her phobia and during the first fall after a summer of sailing, she raced in a regatta with him.

"He was supposed to sail with a friend who ended up getting injured the week before the race so he asked me to sail as his crew," she says. In her very first regatta, they took second place.

"It was the greatest accomplishment of my life because I conquered my fear," she says. "And I've only gotten better and better. My phobia is virtually gone. It's exhilarating, I think that's a good way to put it."


Sherri Doig
on 3/20/17 at 12:03 pm

You go girl. So happy for you. Enjoy

Laura Hess
on 3/21/17 at 8:54 am

I did ballroom dancing too, I started in 1997 and stop in 2003. It was fun learning all the dance steps from Rhumba, Tango, Swing, etc. Enjoy every beat of it.

Jennifer Crist
on 3/22/17 at 7:57 am

Very nice story of you Julie and great picture.

Mary Jo Gray
on 3/23/17 at 9:32 am

It's great to learn about the exciting life you lead outside of the School, Julie! Way to go!

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