Dare to Dance is a new program that is a joint effort between the Colorado Ballet and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at The Children's Hospital. World-renowned physical therapist Patricia Winders brought the program to Denver after reading about a similar effort in Boston.
The first session took place over six weeks, with 10 dancers, ages 5 to 9 years old.
Winders says it is far more than dancing - it involves listening to music, movement, routine and camaraderie.
Sally Turel is one of the instructors with the Colorado Ballet.
"I just love the younger children and how willing they are to try new things. The older you get, the high school age, they're a little more embarrassed and self conscious," Turel said.
In just a short period of time, the children have learned many basic ballet movements, so many they were able to put together solo performances.
"Every moment is magical. Picking out one is impossible, but it really is amazing to watch each child do their own solo performance," Sarah Mann, a second-year physical therapy student, said.
At the end of the session, the dancers invited family and friends to a dress rehearsal and recital. Many of the parents had tears in their eyes watching their children pirouette across the floor. The performance ended with a rousing round of applause, from the audience and the dancers, acknowledging all they've been able to accomplish.
A new session for the Dare to Dance program begins at the end of August.
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