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Feel Good Story of the Week: Dance School Gives Hope - featured June 13, 2011

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The pieces of a ballet uniform are meant to instantly signify and enhance the dancer’s grace and mobility: ballet slippers, a unitard and — of course — a tutu.

But what if the slippers won’t fit over the leg braces a little girl wears as a result of her cerebral palsy?

Chances are children living with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida would not be able to safely participate in a regular ballet class. That’s why Bayside pediatric physical therapist Joann Ferrara created the Dancing Dreams school in 2002.

Ferrara, who has a background in gymnastics and dance, said she started a dance school for physically disabled girls because many of her patients wanted to be in a ballet class, but no one would take them.

“The great majority of them can’t walk independently. Some can’t speak. They could not participate safely in a normal program,” she said.

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Tags: News of the Week Cerebral Palsy Spina Bifida Newsletter 17 June 2011