themighty logo

Parents Claim Dance Studio Turned Away Their 8-Year-Old With Down Syndrome


Anna Winnicki loves to dance. The 8-year-old with Down syndrome has been dancing since she was 2 and has danced with studios for years.

So when Anna’s parents, Tricia and Jason Winnicki, tried to enroll her in a dance studio near their home in Buffalo, New York, they were shocked that the studio turned them away, WIVB News reported. Tricia Winnicki said the studio owner told her the school was unequipped to manage her daughter’s needs.

The Mighty reached out to the dance studio in question for a comment, but has not yet heard back.

“She’s a kid. Every kid should get the same chance to try things and to be a part of things,” Jason Winnicki told WIVB News in the video below. “It shouldn’t matter about a disability. It should be about [letting people] try.”

Anna’s story has prompted a large response from the community. Since the story was posted to the WIVB Buffalo Facebook page on August 13, it’s been shared more than 1,200 times and received hundreds of comments. Many people voiced their support for Anna and suggested other more inclusive dance studios in the Buffalo area.

“Keep on dancing, Anna, you are perfect just the way you are!” one commenter wrote.

The Winnickis say Anna will continue to dance at Center Stage Dance Studio where she was previously enrolled.

Hear more about Winnickis’ story in the video below.