The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Sep 18, 2012

Our Tiny Ballerina...and how it's not about "dancing"

Our Little Miss Macy is an OFFICIAL BALLERINA! She had her first class the other day at Rennae's School of Dance...and totally rocked it!! She followed directions, did (almost) all the moves, took turns, waited patiently and HAD SO MUCH FUN!
All thanks to her amazing and very special teacher, Miss Kathy, who does such a great job of engaging, redirecting, and being patient with our TINIEST OF DANCERS :-)  I'm sure it helps that she also happens to work as a TA for students in Special Ed at a nearby elementary school!

follow this link to check out the VIDEO (warning, it's LONG!) - so, in case you're bored...and looking for a way to pass the time...
Here's a little something to help you get through the next 8 minutes of your life...perhaps bring a smile to your face and some inspiration to your heart.  :-)

Macy's First Ballet Class...THE VIDEO!   click here


video

Sorry...I couldn't bring myself to edit those clips down much more.  So this is what we get.  :-(     hehe!!!    

I just love how even her classmates are helping to keep her in line  :-)
Big sister gives her a few "pointers" before leaving the house  :-)
Macy tells me "YEP, I think I can do that!"
"like this?"

big sis was demonstrating how to do the splits...
but, pretty sure Macy had her BEAT!  That hypotonia (lax ligaments as a result of low tone associated with Down Syndrome) is tough to compete with.  hehe
I am seriously still in tears thinking about how wonderful Macy did that morning. Honestly, I had lowered my expectations (as to not be dissapointed)...and thought "if Macy would even last just 10 minutes before having to be pulled out, I'd chalk it up as a success".  But Miss Kathy kept her attention and on-task the ENTIRE TIME!! HUGE kuddos to her :-)

These last couple years, Macy has proudly supported and sat on the sidelines for big sis.  A full year of Gymnastics and another of Ballet & Tap.  Last year, while waiting patiently in the lobby, Macy was REGULARLY pulled into an adjacent studio and "coached" by little girls who were between classes.

So, yes.  Macy LOVES dancing (or maybe it's just the watching herself in the mirror part -whatever).  She loves mimmicking the actions of others - you know the tune..."anything you can do, I can do better".

But, do we think she's actually ready for a full-fledged class??  Not really.
I received a note from Miss Kathy explaining that the 3 year old ballet class is small and even has another 2 year old in it...so if we were still interested...Macy would be welcome to join in.
I was TICKLED!!

We have devised a plan and so long as I am on-site during her classes, to help with potty-training and to be available to pull her out & allow her a "break" if needed.  Sometimes, kids just aren't "feeling it" and are entitled to "off-days" as well.  This would apply to any two-year old really.  :-)
I don't want to put too much pressure on her teacher and have her diverting too much attention towards Macy...so we have a simple "exit-strategy" in place!
My biggest thing is that I do not want her to be a distraction or take away from the other girls' experiences.
arriving at the studio
greeting a new friend!
SOOO excited to "get this party started!"
Coincidentally, McKenzie has a tumbling class in the next studio over, so we would have been there already anyway.  It's awesome how things just work out sometimes :-) 

So give it a try we did!  And Macy impressed the SOCKS OFF ME!  :-)
borrowed a cute boy's (Ben's) phone to take care of some business before class starts.  hehe
stretches!
What a HAM!!
To most this may have looked like your every day, run-of-the-mill, ballet class...
and it was...
but to this momma...
it was so much more than just dancing.

Sometimes, even I myself, overlook and forget the challenges she is up against.  People with Down Syndrome have physical and intellectual disabilities.  So, if you would have told me after she was born that she would/could be participating (and succeeding) in a "typical" ballet class.  I'm not sure I would have believed you.

I can't help but be impressed (and get emotional) when watching this video.  For three reasons:

1)  She is demonstrating the intellectual and cognitive desire to focus and follow the directions of her  teacher for the entire 45 minutes!  (Miss Kathy's fierce eye contact & constant stimulation helps keep Macy in line)
 
2)  She had the physical stamina to stick with it for that long as well.

3)  Macy, like most children with DS, was a late walker (due to low tone)...those PLIES would be hard for any toddler to do, let alone a toddler with low muscle tone. (it's no wonder she had to stop for a few "breaks").  Also, kiddos with Down Syndrome often walk with "wide gates"...Macy is no exception, so the fact that she can put those toes together, point them and hold them like that for any amount of time, is awesome to me!  She has a few balance checks while in this position, but as you could see in the video, she was trying SOO hard!! 

I am so proud of my baby girl!  And thankful for her kind, patient and engaging instructor! 

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