Friday, October 14, 2016

31 Days of Down syndrome Awareness - Day 14

~Live to Dance, Dance to Inspire~

 Anyone that has spent any time with Riley knows that this kid lives to shake his groove thang.  He has always been a music and dance kid.  I had previously tried a dance class that was happy to include him but the class was geared for typical kids.  There were a lot of dancers and it moved fast.  It just wasn't a good fit.  When we found Inspirations Dance Studio and specifically Mikaela we knew immediately it would be a good fit. 

We stumbled into dance class at a time when Riley was really struggling at school. Both socially and academically he was a hot mess.  There were weeks that dance was the the only happy place he had.  It was an hour a week where he was 100% welcomed and completely accepted for who he is.  Mikaela has amazing composure and is not for a minute fooled by Riley's "cute" routine.  She has very high expectations for him and knows he is capable of so much. It is a special balance when you can meet a person where they are, challenge them to be more, and all the time make them feel special and accepted.  

This is Riley's 3rd year taking dance.  He still loves it.  This past week has been a rough one with a lot of transitions for Riley.  After class when I checked in with Mikaela on how he was since it has been such a bumpy week she says "well it started rough but I just looked at him and told him I needed him to be awesome.  I don't want to be grumpy so Riley be the awesome kid you are."  He turned it around and decided he could join in and did much better.  There is something a little magical about dance that tends to bring out Riley's best side.  
Riley loves to be like his big brother.  Rex plays baseball, football,basketball...  those are things that I am familiar with.  Dance brings an entirely new experience to our family.  I think it is so awesome that Riley has found something he loves and he can do on his own in a meaningful beautiful  way.  Seeing Riley's dance shoes next to Rex's football cleats sums up the beauty in the differences in my boys. 

Inspirations Dance has a full menu of dance classes for typical and special needs students.  You can find the studio at Inspirations Dance Studio   and read all about the classes, schedule and the instructors.  I have added the mission statement below for your reading ease.   

Inspirations Dance Studio is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching all ages and skill levels the world of dance. We pride ourselves in making sure everyone has a chance to express themselves. We have made sure to implement a variety of diverse programs including: financial options for low-income families and dance classes for people with special needs. We are here to serve our community with highly trained staff and encouraging attitudes. There are classes offered in floor gymnastics, ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop for all ages and abilities. Everyone will have a chance to shine their brightest. 
~Live to Dance, Dance to Inspire~

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