Inclusion Matters

Let’s talk about dance competitions. I never knew what all this entailed until we entered the dance competition world 4 years ago. But it is exactly that – a competition; individuals and teams being scored by judges to try and score the highest. Where does a little girl that happens to have Down syndrome fit in? She can’t do fun tricks and complex moves – yet. To get her body to do what she wants takes so much more work than her peers (see: hypotonia).

This year, when many dance competition companies added a special needs category, I thought it would be fun to have Monroe perform a solo. She loves to dance and doesn’t seem bothered by being on the big stage. Yesterday, she competed with her peers with no special needs category, but do you know what happened? While we waited for her turn people came and talked to us. Another family with a daughter with Down syndrome couldn’t wait to watch her. Strangers asked what her routine number was so they could watch her. During her performance, the whole auditorium clapped and cheered for her from many studios. She took a competition and turned it into something more than a high score.

This is why I put her on that stage. She is changing the way the world views Down syndrome. She is advocating for herself. She is showing the world that her disability doesn’t mean she can’t. She can, and even though she didn’t get a high score, she brought a group of people together, even if it was just for a few minutes. I am glad Bourn Academy of Dance has given her the opportunity to help change the way the world views Down syndrome.

-Christina Ziga-Budd, parent

Way to live out your Best of All, Monroe! We are all so proud of you! Thank you, Bourn Academy of Dance, for letting Monroe shine and providing her the platform to excel!

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