Sometimes the best medicine is getting out and doing something productive, fun and stimulating.
With that in mind, the Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet has created a Chance to Dance for children ages 5 to 10 who have Down syndrome. The classes run through May 23.
The goal of the classes is to improve coordination.
“It's intellectually stimulating, artistically challenging and it's very good for spatial awareness,” Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet Director Jane Vorburger said. “They'll learn about being a part of a class and following procedures. All of these things are beneficial.”
Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma Director Megan Meyers-Winkler said the social aspect is one of the most important benefits.
Students get a chance to be around others who are like them. It's also helpful to their parents.
“The social element is one thing we stress in virtually everything we do,” Meyers-Winkler said. “We want them to build friendships with people that have the same disability. Some of these friendships will last a lifetime. And these activities also help parents meet each other and network.”
This is the first class of its kind for the Dance Center. Vorburger has seen classes for adults with Parkinson's disease and other conditions that were successful in helping with coordination and lifting spirits.
“We have hired a specialist to teach this class, and as a matter of fact, she was one of our instructors,” Vorburger said. “In the past she has done some camps for kids with a variety of disabilities. It was just by happenstance that she was with us already, but it is a good fit.”
Meyers-Winkler said children with Down syndrome won't have much trouble learning the basics of ballet and dance.
“They will face the same challenges other kids will face,” Meyers-Winkler said. “Our kids are like anyone else. They go to typical classrooms at their schools, they like music and they like to move around.”
Chance to Dance
Chance to Dance classes will be from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Saturdays through May 23 at Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet, 7421 N Classen Blvd. Classes are limited to 12 students. Tuition is $60 per month. For more information, call 843-9898.