Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 for 21: The Gift

Last night Olivia along with the rest of the Junior Company performed at the Veterans Memorial Theater in downtown Providence at a Gala called Together We Dance. It was hosted by Festival Ballet Providence where Olivia dances. It was a  Gala to benefit the arts which are struggling in this economy. The Gala which was hosted by Festival brought dancers together from all over the country. Some of the most talented dancers from ABT, Houston Ballet, The Lithuanian Ballet, NY Ballet and Boston Ballet took the stage last night to show all there, that dance matters!! The arts need to be supported. We need the arts in our lives.

Right about now you may be wondering how this post is in any way contributing to Down syndrome Awareness. Please , keep reading.

 My kids all dance. Olivia has been walking on her toes since she started walking when she was one a year old. I even took her to the doctor when she was around two because she never put her heels down. She literally walked everywhere on her toes. I thought there was something wrong!  The doctor assured this first time parent that she was fine and was working up one heck of a calf muscle . When she was five we enrolled her in ballet and the rest is history.

Festival Ballet is  one of a kind in RI. They are not only a  top notch school, but they are the only school in RI to have a professional ballet company . The students are able to see right before their eyes some of the best dancers take class, rehears, perform. They are there with them. They see how hard they have to work. They see the sweat the injuries the determination, the beauty.   

Festival Ballet also offers something else, something very special. They have an Adapted Ballet Class for children with Down syndrome. It is amazing!  And hopefully Emmie will be there soon! The children love it! 
With the help of Boston Ballet, Festival has started it's own classes here for the kids.

Last night, the children from the adapted class opened the show with "The Gift". Eight of the most beautiful children in the world walked onto the stage dressed in red. The girls in beautiful ballet dresses. They took their spots and... they danced.  

They had been practicing long and hard for this very special moment. I held my breath, praying the audience would see the beauty, the talent, the determination.  As I was watching, one little girl caught my eye. She was the smallest one, had a blondish pony tail and seemed to "improvise " a little. She gently adjusted one child who apparently went off their mark. She strolled to another with a smile on her face and when the dance was over she was front and center stage for her bow. As I watched my eyes could no longer hold back the tears and they began to stream down my face. Once they started there was no stopping them. I was having a real shoulder shaking cry.  The little girl reminded me of Emmie, and I was overwhelmed with the possibilities that lay ahead for her.

Last night was one of the most important nights Festival Ballet has ever had, and they chose to open the show with eight very special children. How far we have come!!! A few years ago these children wouldn't be dancing. These are the children doctors told parents to institutionalize. They were thought incapable of learning and socially inadequate. Last night the spotlight was there's, they owned the stage and yes, the audience got it! The crowd went wild!!

Thank you Festival Ballet Providence for recognizing our children, for holding them in such high esteem, for treating them with respect. Thank you for The Gift!


The VW's said...

What, no pictures?! You're killing me! :)

This post totally touched tears! I wish I could have seen this wonderful sight!

my family said...

sounds like an amazing youv'e got me crying

Rochelle said...

This brought me to tears my friend. I am so thankful for organizations making the improvements to include our kids! Now if mine could only dance like your girls LOL!