Woman teaching children with disabilities to love dance

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An Orem dance studio has reached out to those with disabilities. Offering a free class is proving to give children many more opportunities than just dance.

Ashley Cichoski loves to dance, and once a week she gets to at The Dance Club in Orem.

Woman teaching children with disabilities to love dance

"She gets so excited she talks about it all week. She can't wait for Saturday to come so she can come to her dance class and be with her friends and dance with her teachers. It makes her feel like she is a real dancer. We're just really grateful she has that opportunity," Ashley's father, David Cichoski, said.

It's an opportunity that Heidi Stoddard helps to make happen for more than a dozen children every week. "I have kids from 6 all the way up to 28. We have some who have Down syndrome, some who have cerebral palsy, physical, emotional and mental disabilities," Stoddard explained.

Stoddard's brother has cerebral palsy, and she loves to see children with disabilities dance.

Woman teaching children with disabilities to love dance

"It grows confidence for them. It is something they can accomplish; they can do something all their friends at school do. It's also good for some of them who are really tight in their muscles. They get to stretch, and it's great therapy for them as well," Stoddard said.

Stoddard finds that while she is the instructor, she benefits from what her students teach her.

"It's such a great experience for me. I teach all week, Monday through Saturday, and this is one of my favorite classes because they and their parents are so grateful for what I do, and they appreciate what I do, and I appreciate them because I learn so much from them," she said.

Dancing in this special needs class is all about the smiles. Class members will also be a part of the studio's spring recital in April. [Click here for more information on the special needs dance class]

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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Sam Penrod


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