Kids with Down syndrome stretch their abilities in ballet - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

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Kids with Down syndrome stretch their abilities in ballet program

They dance for fun, and it shows! Students in the Toledo Ballet's Adaptive Dance Program may have something to teach others.

They practice twice a week to get ready for their end of the year showcase. But these aren't typical ballet dancers. All of them have Down syndrome, and ballet is their outlet to shine.

"I'm really good and my dance is my life," said Kendra Schwartz.

The program was started by instructor Ann Heckler five years ago. It gives the students a chance to learn from the best and perform with the best.

"Why wouldn't everybody get to dance? Why would it just be the typical body, the typical cognitive level, the typical physical level?" asked Heckler. "I just felt like it was the right thing to do."

And at the end of their performances, these dancers get a standing ovation.

"She's just really changed, and more upbeat and feels really good about herself," said Cynthia Dress, one dancer's mother. "Anytime that we can have something that they feel beautiful and express themselves and feel really good about, it makes a parent feel just as happy, as well."

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