Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet adds class for children with Down syndrome

December 20, 2012

Press Releases

Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet adds class for children with Down syndrome


OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 20, 2012) – The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet will begin the New Year by offering a new dance program for children with Down syndrome.


At “Chance to Dance,” 12 students between the ages 5-10 with Down Syndrome will learn to dance under the direction of School Director Jane Vorburger and instructor Katie Veenhuizen, focusing on spatial concepts, axial and locomotor movement skills, rhythmical awareness, and physical coordination needed to execute basic ballet and jazz dance steps.  Students will also develop musicality, muscular strength and social skills like teamwork.


“I really love dance and giving all members of the community an opportunity to dance and study dance,” Vorburger said.  “We had wanted to find a way to add classes to our schedule beyond the traditional ballet training and Katie (Barnett) is very talented and passionate about teaching this particular class.”


Barnett has experience working with children with special needs and will use visual aids and tactile experiences to facilitate the learning process.


Classes will be held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., January 5 through May 23 at the Oklahoma City Ballet, 7421 N. Classen Blvd.


Tuition is $60 per month.  Call 843-9898 for more information.


According to Megan Meyers-Winkler, executive director for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma, Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs in one in every 691 births. It is the most frequently occurring chromosomal condition and is found in people of all races and economic levels. More than 400,000 people in the United States have Down syndrome.


“The greatest challenge for kids with Down syndrome to overcome will be the same ones that any kid their age would face: balance, coordination and being able to stay focused,” Meyers-Winkler said.  “Children with Down syndrome are really no different than their peers. Most of them attend school in typical classrooms and do the same things that other children do such as play sports, do chores and complain about homework.  One thing I really try to stress to people who are unfamiliar with Down syndrome is that people who have Down syndrome are more alike than different. The only difference is a third chromosome on the twenty-first allele.”

About The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet

The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet prepares young dancers for a professional role in the arts, as well as providing a recreational activity. With a foundation in classical ballet technique, the school nurtures young dancers, fosters self-discipline and provides the tools for self-expression.


Throughout its 40-year history, The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet has placed students in scholarship programs with many prestigious companies, including: Washington Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet. Many students have gone on to become professional dancers in companies all over the country, including the Oklahoma City Ballet.


During the 2012-13 school year, The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet will begin incorporating the American Ballet Theatre national training curriculum into its program.  The curriculum, developed by Franco de Vita and Raymond Lukens, in collaboration with American Ballet Theater’s Artistic Advisors and a Medical Advisory Board, embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French, Italian and Russian training systems. This curriculum helps provide a safe and fun learning environment and allows the students to experience a feeling of mastery in each level.


Spring classes begin on Jan. 2, for ages 3 and up and all skill levels.

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