Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dancing Dreams – Ballet For Girls With Disabilities

I was on the internet one day, just poking around, and I came across this wonderful dance program for children with disabilities. Dancing Dreams was started in 2002 by Joann Ferrara, a pediatric physical therapist with a background in ballet. It has grown from five dancers to over 50 girls, ages 3 to 17. Based in Queens, NY, dancers come from all over NY state and even New Jersey to participate. Each ballerina has a helper – a high school student who is trained to assist a student in class. Every year, the ballerinas put on a performance for their family & friends which is free and open for all to come enjoy!

This lovely program has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Early Show & other news channels. It’s also appeared in The New York Times and other national publications such as People Magazine. “Ballerina Dreams”, a book about the program published in 2007, won accolades in the publishing field.  Principal Dancer of the New York City Ballet, Jenifer Ringer, fell in love with Dancing Dreams & its mission and is now its Artistic Consultant.

Currently, there are three programs Dancing Dreams runs. There is the Adaptive Dance Class, of course. They also do community outreach where they speak at schools, teaching children about awareness. The Teen Leadership program helps volunteers learn valuable leadership skills while turning dreams into reality for the ballerinas.

Dancing Dreams is a nonprofit organization so it relies on charitable contributions for funding. There is also a voluntary contribution for classes to cover the cost but no ballerina has ever been turned away due to an inability to pay. Donators can choose to purchase items for ballerinas, such as ballet slippers ($35) or a leotard and tights ($75). See a full list ofdonation suggestions here.

Check out their website at 

1 comment:

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