THESE DANCERS SHOOK UP IDEAS ABOUT WHAT SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS HAVE TO OFFER

An article for Romper.com 

In this article Hillary discusses the National Dance Institute DREAM Project, a program that pairs dancers with disabilities with peer dancers and allows dancers to co-create a performance showcasing all the dancers’ abilities and accomplishments Check out all of Hillary's articles for Romper.com.

EXCERPT

These Dancers Shook Up All Our Ideas About What Kids With Special Needs Have To Offer

August 28, 2018

In Studio One at the National Dance Institute (NDI) in Harlem, New York, it is the dancers' first day together. They are still nervously getting to know each other when the piano kicks in with a cheerful take on "You're The One That I Want." Clustered in groups of twos and threes, the dancers try out pieces of choreography. Several of the dancers in the studio, including 13-year-old Josie and middle-schooler Amadeus, have hair streaked with neon pink, magenta, and green; little touches of flair, a sneak peek at the performer within.

A dancer in the front, Shira, has caught my eye with her broad smile. I can't help but smile back, laugh with her. I press my hands together in front of my mouth, and, suddenly, feel tears welling up in my eyes. Laurie, the mom of the dancer who goes by “Ava Flava,” slides a few seats over, and says, “You’re going to be laughing and weeping all week. They should warn the new parents.”

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