Special students shine in local ballet school

HAVERFORD, Pa. - July 24, 2013

"I love it, I love it! I laugh," said 10-year-old Charlotte Keating.

The girls have been diagnosed with such conditions as Down syndrome, autism and epilepsy.

The owner of the studio, Suzanne Slenn, met the girls at Charlotte's birthday party last year. Having always wanted to provide dance lessons to special needs children, she said it was time to do it.

"I felt that they should have the same positive, nurturing experience where they can have a better sense of awareness of their bodies, coordination," Slenn said.

The girls did so well, they performed with Suzanne's other ballet students in her showcase, "Alice and Other Dances in Wonderland."

"We were concerned about her performing in front of a live audience and she did great, she had such a good time," said Pam Braun of Wayne, Pa.

"What I loved is when they took their curtain call and the whole studio came out. They were on stage with all the other kids and feeling like they were a part of something that other kids do," said Susan Stuber of Berwyn, Pa.

Dance therapist Maggie Ludwig-Albert said "They impressed me every single day with their ability to focus, and I started to notice them retaining it from week to week."

Suzanne was hopeful the girls might perform Swan Lake or some other classic, but they responded best to Beyonce's "Halo."

It will be back to the classics this winter with a performance of "The Nutcracker."

For more information:

Philadelphia Studio Ballet
339-345 W, Lancaster Ave.
Haverford Pa.

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