Throughout the last 10 years, The Dance Ability Movement has created an inclusive dance community where dancers of all abilities can realize their potential and build meaningful connections with other dancers, volunteers and teachers.

We have witnessed many true friendships blossoming at the studio and in this blog post, we would like to share with you the story of one of these beautiful friendships that started in The Dance Ability Movement’s first year and has grown stronger since then.

Please meet Lauryn and Kayla:

  • Lauryn joined our program on its first year as a dancer in our Tots class at The Dance Elite studio in Milton. She is currently attending our Kids class and has performed in all our recitals.
  • Kayla also joined our program on its first year as Lauryn’s dance buddy. In 2015, she became one of our teachers in our Milton location.

We have invited Lauryn’s mom, Amanda, and Kayla for an interview so they could share how they have built such a special connection throughout the last ten years dancing together. We hope you enjoy it!

A friendship starts to blossom…

Lauryn’s mom – Every parent hopes for their child to have genuine friendships and meaningful relationships with others. As a parent of a child who has a disability, this is an exceptionally challenging goal to support your child with, especially as our children enter the teen years. When Lauryn met Kayla, they made a connection right from the start. Kayla was able to get past any barriers to communication through dance, patience, and an amazing sense of humour. When Lauryn sees Kayla her face lights up, she immediately wants to go to her.  It is clear that she wants to spend time with her friend and that she values their time together.

Kayla – When Lauryn and I first met I was still in school and at that time didn’t have much experience with the special needs community. Where the bond really blossomed was at our first recital when she danced on that stage for the first time – that’s where the confidence and inner diva made an appearance. As the dance classes continued, I couldn’t tell you who was more excited to dance myself or Lauryn because we would always have a blast and were basically inseparable. Lauryn totally embraces my goofiness and we just seem to understand each other on a mutual level.

 

And grows stronger through dance!

Lauryn’s mom – Kayla instinctually understands and notices when Lauryn is having difficulties physically.  She accommodates activities to meet Lauryn’s needs while at the same time using her motivation to dance to help her get stronger.  Because of Kayla’s commitment to supporting Lauryn she has become physically stronger in all areas which has enhanced her life overall.

Kayla – As much as I may be Lauryn’s buddy and dance instructor, she has taught me so much. She has taught me to appreciate and notice all the small things in life, patience, positive thinking, not being afraid to be different and that absolutely everyone has something to offer to the world.

 

Going beyond the dance studio.

Lauryn’s mom – The day that Kayla asked Lauryn to be a flower girl in her wedding was a day that I will never forget. I realized that day that Lauryn had a genuine friend in Kayla. It was clear that The Dance Ability had created an opportunity for much more than dance.  It had created true inclusion and removed barriers that many children with disabilities face when it comes to building relationships.

Kayla – I have so many amazing memories with Lauryn but the one that I hold closest to my heart is her being one of my beautiful flower girls on my wedding day. It was such a big day for both of us and something I’ll cherish forever.

 

What does being a part of The Dance Ability Movement mean to you?

Lauryn’s mom – Lauryn has had the opportunity to pursue her passion for dance because of The Dance Ability Movement. She has made genuine friendships that exist beyond the walls of the dance studio. Many kids, particularly as they enter the teen years can become isolated due to the gap in their abilities. The Dance Ability Movement has played a key role in Lauryn truly being included in her local community. Because of her involvement in The Dance Ability, Lauryn is often recognized by others. We have been stopped several times by people in the community complimenting her on her participation in dance recitals.

As a parent of a child who has a disability, opportunities to celebrate our children’s accomplishments tend to become fewer and further between. The Dance Ability has made it possible for Lauryn to have the same experiences as her non-disabled peers and to be celebrated and included in events like recitals. By creating an opportunity for all children to share the stage regardless of ability, The Dance Ability has sent a strong message to our community about inclusion and valuing the contributions of others even if they may look a little different.

Kayla – The DAM has had a massive impact on my life. I say this often but it has helped me shape the way that I now view the world. I am now more aware of how important inclusion is every single day. I truly believe that DAM has made my purpose in life that much clearer.

Stories like this one bring so much joy to our hearts and truly inspires us each and every day to continue making dancing dreams come true!

 

*This story shares views expressed by the individuals involved. These views may not be reflective of other experiences or indicative of future successes or similar experiences for others.