Dancing for Health

March 24, 2014 Updated Mar 24, 2014 at 7:29 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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March 24, 2014 Updated Mar 24, 2014 at 7:29 AM EDT

West Seneca, N.Y. (WKBW) - Ballroom dancing was a talent that Anthony Lesakowski didn't know he had until his late sixties and after many of health problems.

“I had heart problems for about 20 years,” Lesakowski said.

Those problems changed his life.

“There was no way to save the heart. I spent my whole life in athletics. I walked and played sports. It was pretty tough laying back and hardly doing anything, basically because I could hardly walk,” Lesakowski said.

In 2007, Lesakowski got a successful heart transplant. At first, he said he tried to play the sports he used to love. He even was in a transplant survivor competition. Then, Lesakowski realized he wanted to do something different. That is when he found the Ballroom Dancing Center Iliana in West Seneca

“I happen to come to the plaza for dinner at the Chinese restaurant and I saw the studio. I thought maybe that's something I should be doing,” Lesakowski said.

His teacher and temporary dance partner Iiana Kenava is also the owner of the Dancing Center.

“Little by little we started to get into the competitions and he liked it very much,” Kenava said.

Lesakowski said it has become a way of life.

“Now, I treat it like a sport, I train for it and I practice every day and It's fantastic and I really enjoy it. It's fantastic exercise and travel. That's what we do in the competitions,” Lesakowski said.

Lesakowski also said there is a great social aspect to the competitions.

“I love dancing. There is so much to it. It really keeps your mind sharp because you have to keep learning new things, new steps. You have to keep coordinating the body with the motion. You learn so many great things,” Lesakowski said.

Next month, Lesakowski and Kaneva will be traveling to Toronto and Cancun, Mexico to dance in a competition. He said it is like a fairytale night out every time they dance.

“It's great because you get dressed up, you dance, then you go out to dinner...it's like going to the prom,” Lesakowski said.

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