Chandler dancer risks his life for every dance practice as his parents wait with a heart machine

Ozzy Mora, KPNX

As a dancer, you always want to give it your all on the dance floor.

It’s a passion that comes from within.

19-year-old Kalob Insalaco from Chandler has been dancing his heart out since he was 11 years old.

He can’t imagine his life without dance, that’s how much it means to him.

When Kalob was 14 years old, the worst news any passionate dancer could ever hear changed his life, but what he didn’t expect was the positives that would come from it.

“I found out that I had a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” he said. “Basically what that is, is an enlarged heart. It’s harder for blood and oxygen to pump through.”

According to the American Heart Association, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is actually very common and it affects men or women of any age. It’s a common cause of cardiac arrest, which can also cause sudden death.

Kalob says that he got diagnosed after going to a regular doctor’s visit. After doctors figured out what his condition was, he was told he couldn’t dance or do much of any exercise.

“I almost felt like I was being punished for something,” said Kalob with tears in his eyes.

It was a very dark time for Kalob and his family, but Kalob still found a way to be involved in dance.

Kalob’s teacher from Basha High School offered him a job to teach dance to a special needs class for the City of Chandler. Even if he couldn’t dance, he could help others express themselves that way.

“Even though I hated everything I was doing, that was the one thing that kept me going, was dance itself and helping others,” said Kalob.

Six months after his diagnosis, his family just couldn’t see Kalob go through heartache anymore and decided to get a second opinion. The family was glad they did.

Kalob was given a second chance and was told he was able to dance again under certain conditions.

Kalob says he has to stay hydrated at all times, take a medication that slows down his heartbeat every time he dances and his parents need to be at all practices with his defibrillator just in case he collapses.

“I just have to pay attention to the symptoms that my doctor has told me to look out for, which is if I get dizzy or if my heart rate is going way too fast, way too hard,” he said,” and so far that has not happened at all.”

His mother, Jenette Insalaco mentioned that she and Kalob’s father switch off in being at all Kalob’s practice with the defibrillator just in case.

At the moment, Kalob is in a dance crew called Elektrolytes. The crew will be competing in August at the 16th

Annual USA Hip Hop DANCE Championship, which will be held in Phoenix.

Kalob says that his heart condition will be in the back of his mind while competing, but it’s not something he is going to be worried about.

“You gotta work for it,” he said. “Like, it doesn’t matter what people think about you, what matters is how hard you’re working every day to achieve your goal.”

Kalob is a perfect reminder of how “impossible” should never be an option.

Original Story:

At 14 years old, Kalob discovered he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy—the #1 cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Kalob had been dancing since he was 11 years old, and is fortunate to have become aware of his condition before something tragic happened.

Thanks to a second opinion, the 19-year-old is able to continue dancing with medication and an AED on hand. Kalob’s story shows us that a heart diagnosis doesn’t necessarily prevent athletes from participating in physical activity and following their passions. But the key in this case, and many others, is that diagnosis must come first, and this can be accomplished through cardiac testing.


Wimbledon Health Partners teams up with high schools, colleges, universities, and sports facilities to test student athletes for vascular conditions and for cardiac abnormalities to help minimize sudden cardiac death among young athletes. Visit our Wimbledon Athletics page to learn more about our athletic testing program.

Wimbledon Athletics
Wimbledon U
Vascular Centers Of America