Dance is for everyone
My family’s story is a little different from most. My husband, Mike, and I were married and had our first baby, a daughter whom we named Carly. That much is pretty standard. My second daughter, a beautiful miracle named Cassie was born at just twenty-five weeks, weighing just 1lb 14oz, and from the moment that she arrived our lives have been different. Cassie is completely blind and has been for her entire life. When she was four and a half she was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. Early on, I grieved the loss of all of the dreams I had for what our perfect life would be with our two little girls. I cried because she would never see the way I look at her and would never see the beautiful colors of the leaves changing in the fall or the moon and stars. I worried about her future and whether the world would be kind to her. I feared that she might not get to experience a life full of the activities I had imagined sharing with her.
Cassie’s older sister, Carly, found her home at Thomas Dance Studio ten years ago. With everything that was happening with Cassie, my husband and I wanted to be sure that Carly didn’t feel left out or miss out on any experiences so I was searching for activities to get her involved in. I took Carly to an open house, signed her up for her first dance class and from the moment she started we could tell that dancing was going to be the thing that gave her joy, and that Thomas Studio was going to be the place that gave her the comfortable, safe environment to grow. Carly now dances at the studio almost ten hours per week and I am so very thankful that she has a place where she can just be herself and not have the extra burdens of being a sibling to a special needs child. Her training at the studio has taught her so much beyond just dancing, including the value of teamwork, time management, the discipline required to reach her goals, and just how to be a better, kinder human in this very crazy world.
Cassie has always responded to music, so even in the early years, Carly would come home from dance class and try to teach Cassie some of the things she had learned. Having an activity that they both could do together was something so special for Carly, and so beautiful for me to witness as a parent. When the studio started talking about Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, I was thrilled. There have been countless times where other places have agreed to work with Cassie, but then when the time came, they didn’t really want to or simply didn’t have the experience necessary to be able to. Knowing that six of the studio’s instructors were committed to going through the entire training process was so exciting for our family. Cassie was invited to be a part of the training process for the studio’s faculty and participated in her first session this past summer. Now, instead of just coming with me to take Carly to dance, Cassie is asking to go to dance class herself. The feeling of watching her walk into her own dance class, often with her sister at her side, is a beautiful reminder of why we are so happy to have found our home at Thomas Studio.