Becoming a dancer is a dream for many young boys and girls, but for children growing up with special needs, those hopes can often seem too far out of reach. As our Matt Hunter shows us, a special program of the New York City Ballet is breaking down some of those boundaries.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Several dozen local children, including a half dozen from the Langan School at the Center for Disability Services in Albany, got a rare opportunity Monday. The young students took part in a program led by two principal dancers from the New York City Ballet.
For the past three and a half years, the ballet has partnered with the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State to provide the opportunity for children and young adults with special needs.
"Too often, people with disabilities are shunted into the audience,” said Dr. Joseph Dutkowski, a board member with the Cerebral Palsy Association.
Dutkowski, who works with some of the students and families in attendance Monday, says there are numerous benefits to the program.
It's so important for their confidence, so important for how they feel about themselves, and for how we as a society feel about them too," Dutkowski said.
"We do sort of open up those doors and allow kids to do something that their parents were once told they would never do," said Ashley Laracey, one of the dancers running the class.
Primarily based at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, the New York City Ballet has an annual summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.