Dancing program for children with physical challenges

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Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor has announced that Dancing Dreams, the dance program specially designed for children with physical challenges featured in the recent best-selling children’s book, “Ballerina Dreams,” will be coming to the East End this summer as part of a Bay Street educational outreach program co-sponsored by The Ross School.

The unique and celebrated program, which has been profiled in The New York Times and on “The Today Show,” nurtures the individual abilities of each student, regardless of impairment, and allows each child the chance to experience the joy of movement and performance. The course will offer children age 3 to 8 with physical and medical challenges the opportunity to participate in a community ballet class at the Ross School Lower Campus in Bridgehampton on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. from June 28 through August 23, with the exception of July 5, culminating in a recital at the end of the summer.

The final performance is a celebration of achievement that highlights the hard work and motivation of the dancers.

Taught by program founder Joann Ferrara, a pediatric physical therapist with 25 years of experience and a background in ballet, each young dancer is paired with a “helper”—a high school student volunteer who has been trained to work with the dancers and assist them during the class and performance.

The program is based on abilities, not disabilities. The children dance in their own ways to the best of their individual capabilities. Rather than struggling to fit into a class designed for non-challenged children, students participating in this class can progress according to their own limits while among their peers.

Classes will be limited to 20 dancers age 3 to 8, with physical and/or medical challenges, and will be held at the Ross School campus on Butter Lane in Bridgehampton. The deadline for signing up is May 21.

The theater is also recruiting “helper” volunteers, between the ages of 14 and 18, for the summer Dancing Dreams program. Volunteers must be available for an orientation/training session, all the classes and the recital.

For more information, to reserve space for the Dancing Dreams program, or to volunteer, contact the Bay Street Theatre Education Office at 725-0818, ext. 102.

Bay Street Theatre is a not-for-profit institution dedicated to presenting new, classic and contemporary works of the highest quality, which challenge as well as entertain, speak to the diversity of the community and champion the human spirit. Bay Street’s commitment extends to educational programs for all ages to foster the continued value of theatre ?as a vital art form for future generations.

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