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A Thank You to the Dance Studio That Welcomes My Daughter With Disabilities

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It’s easy to take what we have for granted. As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to draw special attention to the dance studio where my daughter Namine, who has caudal regression syndrome and other disabilities, takes ballet, jazz, and tap lessons.

Anita’s Dance Center does not advertise itself as catering to disabled individuals. Yet, when we were searching for a place where Namine could take dance lessons, it was the only place willing to accommodate her needs.

This was back in 2013. Namine’s participation in ballet — which was the only class she took, at the time — was limited to sitting in her wheelchair and scooting on the floor. Nevertheless, Namine’s teacher was supportive.

Namine took a break from dance for a few years. She was involved with baseball and basketball, and while she loves them, she missed dance. It was, in a way, her first love. We were not very surprised, then, when she asked if she could take dance class once more.

The new class was actually a trio of classes: tap, ballet, and jazz, in that order. This time around, instead of staying in her wheelchair, Namine wanted to try dancing in her walker. Thinking that tap would be too difficult, Namine participated in ballet and jazz.

Like the first time Namine took dance, I sat through the class in case she needed help. Unlike the first time, however, I was the only parent to do so. Namine’s teacher, however, did not mind. As the class went on, Namine became more confident, and asked less of me. By the time the classes ended prior to the recital, I was hardly doing anything at all.

And there was no taking a break from dance this time around. Namine wasted no time in telling us she wanted to be in dance again, and this time, she also wanted to take tap.

Ever since we signed Namine up for her first class, Anita’s Dance Center has been understanding every step of the way. Namine is thankful she’s been able to continue taking dance; we are thankful for an encouraging dance studio that makes all of its students feel welcome.

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Originally published: November 24, 2016
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