SALT LAKE CITY — As yet another COVID-19 wave continues to devastate Utah, exhausting heroic healthcare workers as hospitals fill beyond capacity, a spontaneous act showed beauty still exists in places often associated with sadness these days.
While a volunteer pianist played in the lobby of University of Utah Hospital Tuesday, a hospital employee named Teva Martinson slipped off his shoes and dazzled with a performance most often seen on the stage.
Martinson has been working for University of Utah Health as a phlebotomist for roughly four months, but aside from work duties, the 21-year-old from Grantsville became the talk of the hospital earlier this week.
While on a 15-minute break, Teva and a co-worker went to the lobby area to the Starbucks inside of the building. A woman was playing the piano and Teva liked the soothing music, and went over an asked the woman if she knew any music that would fit well with ‘ballet’. The pianist started playing a tune.
“I’ve gotten to see some low moments, I’ve gotten to see some really high moments but overall I think everyone is just trying to work together to keep a positive, joyous mood in the hospital,” Martinson said. “I did it because I wanted to, I felt like it was something right for me, just to like do something and make someone smile, you know to enjoy myself.”
With onlookers standing and watching nearby, Martinson performed the ballet moves of a well-seasoned professional.
“I just took my little Crocs off and just felt the music,” said Martinson, who began to dance.
The hospital shared the video on its Twitter page, calling it "a moment of pure joy." Likes and retweets greeted the video, with one person asking who the dancer was.
“My goal when I took my shoes off and got into that headspace, was to be happy,” said Martinson. “In the long run I didn’t think that dance would go anywhere, I didn’t think it would go past the 6 or 7 people that were watching.”
A hospital spokesperson shared the feelings of those who were able to watch and witness the surprise act in the most unlikeliest of places.
"As our healthcare workers deal with the stress of the current surge in COVID cases, this was a much needed moment of pure beauty and grace," said Kathy Wilets.
“I’ve had a lot of positive reinforcement just from the faculty, the staff, patients,” said Martinson. “We’re absolutely going through really tough times right now and it’s super sad to witness a lot of these things but if I can do one thing in this world to make it a brighter and happier place then I feel fulfilled.”
Martinson has been dancing since high school and says that dancing provides positivity. He hopes the video sparks joy and kindness with those who see it and encourages others to step out of their comfort zone.