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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A Child with Odds against them


Janell

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Hello! I an new to this site and quite frankly I am new to the world of dance. I have a unique siuation and I am here to find out info!!! I am hoping for guidance from this site and here is a brief summary of my story.....

My daughter is 5 years old and she has down syndrome, fortunately she has a rare form of it that is called Mosaic, which means not all of her cells have he exra chromosone that make down syndrome. She does not have an appearance of downs.

Jayme attended a pre-school, inspire kids, that focuses on children with disabilities.

 

I received a phone call out of the blue one day from my daughters speech therapist, she asked me if my daughter is taking ballet class? I said no, and she was very surprised. She said to me that she was a student of Julliard and that my daughter has a very good nack for ballet, and that she puts on ballet shows for her teachers quite often. The speech therapist feels that my daughter has better moves than some of the girls who have taken ballet class.

 

So I find myself wondering what to do next, if she does truely have a talent, I would like to find out. Where do I begin? How do I tell if she does have what it takes? Can a child with down syndrome be accepted in the serious world of ballet? Any input would be greatly appreciated!!! thank you!!!!

 

Janell

Edited by Redbookish
Edited to remove possibe identifying information
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All children can benefit from learning the joy of dance. At five, it's difficult for any of us to know how our children will develop physically. If she has the interest (and it sounds as though she has the interest and the aptitude), find her a class and see how she does.

 

In the little bit of reading I've done about Mosaic Down's Syndrome, it seems that a lot can be achieved! We have a friend with more obvious symptoms of down's syndrome. She has been dancing since she was young. She is not at a "serious" ballet studio- instead, they have found a very family friendly studio that welcomes her and allows her to perform to her abilities. Down the road, your daughter may continue to follow the serious ballet path, or she might find a recreational studio that meets her needs - only time (and focus and physical development) will tell.

 

Good luck on your journey!

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Thank you, for your thoughts. I think I am just trying to find if there is anyone here that can relate to my daughters situation, anyone who has gone down this road and can tell me if they experienced hurt from rejection. I live extremely close to NYC, as I am sure you know, there is alot of schools there. My husband is a detective there so is very familiar with the area. My 13 year old daughter a the age of 5 was in a fun dance class, and she never had any of the moves that her sister shows us. It would cost alot of time and money for me to take her to auditions for schools there, all of the websites say that at this age experience is not required, but that they must demonstrate a potential career in dance. I guess I am just trying to see if a child would be discredited as having a potential talent just from having the diagnosis of Downs Syndrome. On a detectives salary, we cant afford to just throw audition money away!! In the same note, I am willing to spend all I have if it means that my daughter will be happy doing something that she loves.

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Janell, I think this would be a good age to find a nice local school that has pre-ballet classes. It would not be necessary to take her to the city yet! Try to find a good school close to your area, and try her out there first. If she loves it, and shows progress, when she is ready for a more focused program, then maybe think about going into the city. At this age she should have creative movement or pre-ballet, with Ballet I starting usually around age 7 or even 8.

 

I have only worked with one Down's Syndrome child, and that was only in an SI audition a number of years ago. He was a teen age male, and doing very well, and loved it. He worked really hard, and had made rather amazing progress considering the limitations. He was not up to where he needed to be at his age to be accepted for our program, but I loved that he tried, and that he obviously loved to dance!

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The best thing you can do for your daughter's future in dancing right now is to find a teacher that she likes and who can give her a good solid foundation and nurture her love of dance. At this age (I have two 5 year olds), so much depends on how they get along with the teacher.

 

As for the question of talent, it might be better not to know and just let her try lots of different forms of dance and other activities to see what she loves rather than what she might be good at. A coach told me that my, then, 3 year olds had a natural talent for her sport. It was one of the worst things that could have happened because I turned into 'sports mom' (swore I never would, of course) and it made them miserable and turned them off completely. It became about what I thought they should do instead of what they wanted. Finally, I asked myself if I'd be pushing them if they had no special potential and the answer was NO. So, we quit and they are now very happy and working hard in an activity they chose - ballet. And I am working very hard to keep my competitive side in check!

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Hi.

 

My daughter (6) is legally blind, some malformations in the lower jaw and airway and hypermobility in all her joints. We take ballet classes. And yesterday she took tap for the first time. Now it was hard for her, tap is very visual. But she enjoyed it and thats what matters.

 

Also, she was invited up to the pre professional ballet stream. Now, she may not be able to keep up....but we wont know unless we try. And I and her teacher think she will do it.

 

When we first did it, I was scared too. But the benefits are worth it.

 

Just think, if she was 100% typical, would you put her in ballet? If the answer is yes...then do it.

 

However, if she has difficulties being in groups or following directions to the point that she becomes distracting to others (I have an older autistic daughter whom has done this even tho she wasnt even verbal at the time), then you may need to see if they will allow a one to one worker to help keep her on track. Some programs may pay for that, but mostly it will be out of pocket.

 

I have been clear that now that my daughtere is in the pre pro classes (and 1 rec class) that I dont expect the teacher to spend more time with her then they would spend with any other child who is having difficulties picking up the moves. I will instead pay for privates out of respect to the other parents who are spending the 2 grand a year also.

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Janell, is there not any just recreation classes where you are? We didnt audition for rec classes. We audition (invited) to join the prepro claases after a year of rec classes. Isnt there any pre ballet or kinderdance programs where you are?

 

Also, I put my dd in gymnastics at the local YMCA for a bit, too see if she was able to follow simple instructions in a large, moving, group of chldren. OR if she would be comfy enough to do even that before I madse the choice that she was able to be in a group of children who were moving about without becomming upset or disorientated.

 

Has she done any large group activities where they move and interact as a group?

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I have no experience of a child with special needs, but, to dance and the enjoyment of dancing is where is starts. I did not put my children in ballet with the idea of a career for them, it was for fun and the beauty they would experience and the joy it would produce. I hope your child can have years and years of such joy. Even without a situation such as yours ballet as a career is for the few. Ballet as an experience is for the masses if they only knew. Get her dancing and revel in her successes, she will have them. Nothing is better than to see a child alive and happy on stage. Good luck.

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