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NYer of the Week: Dorise Black Doesn't Let Condition Stop Her, Teaches Water Aerobics Class

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NY1 first met our New Yorker of the Week two years ago as part of a synchronized swimming team of seniors in Harlem. She's now inspiring more New Yorkers through leading a water aerobics class.

If Dorise Black can show up to water aerobics class six times a week, there's little excuse for these adults to miss it.

Dorise suffered a stroke and a fractured hip, but she never let her condition stop her from moving forward.

"If my eyes open in the morning, that means I'm here for a reason, and the reason is not to have a pity party. The reason is to do whatever I can," she says. "Just like I tell my students, the fear, I have to take the fear out of my head and make an attempt to do something."

For more than a decade, Dorise has made waves at the Hansborough Recreation Center in Harlem. She teaches an in-water aerobics class for adults and seniors every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The exercise has minor impact on joints and muscles, but Dorise's motivation is a major push.

"She's a critic. She really pays attention to you so that if you come on a regular basis, she can tell you if you've improved or what you need to work on so that you can get better," says Sandy Baker, a class participant.

"The water works with you," Black says. "I see the changes in their body. I see helping them get to from point A to point B, where they want to go. There are some people in my classes that are infirm as well, and it's helping them to do things that they can't do on land."

Dorise's class isn't only about working towards physical goals. She calls her students her family, and she encourages them to persevere through limitations, just like she did.

"She's been knocked down from one little incident that continued to spiral on her, but it never stopped her," says Monica Hale, a class participant. "The one thing you learn about Dorise, never say never and never say can't, because those are two things that don’t exist in her vocabulary."

So, for never letting her challenges stop her from inspiring others to stay healthy, Dorise Black is the latest New Yorker of the Week.

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New Yorker of the Week
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