Many parents out there know Miss Kia Crader. She is an accomplished dancer who owns Fascinating Rhythm School of Performing Arts in south Reno. One thing you may not know about her is that she has always had a passion for children with special needs. Both her sons, Sean and Lane Saunders, have a heart for them as well. So, the family is using their gift of dance to move the kids forward.
Children like Carly Beeg converge on the dance school every Saturday. Carly has Down syndrome and loves to dance. She was one of Miss Kia's first dancers with special needs. "She loves the stage," Carly's mom, Gina Beeg told us. "She's done about seven or eight recitals now and as soon as one's over, she starts talking about the one for the next year."
Gina approached Kia several years ago with another mother and asked about the possibility of a dance class for their daughters. Kia did not hesitate and added the class for people of all levels and abilities.
Kia's sons, who both work with special needs children outside of the dance school, took the reins of this program, too. "All right, do you want to do your big jumps now, Carly?" asks Sean during class. She followed instruction and performed her jumps with ease. "That's what I want to see! Super job!"Carly's mom proudly watches her daughter improve every week. "Don't underestimate what our kids can do. Raise the bar. Let them participate. Let them show what they can do."
The weekly, 45-minute class focuses not just on dance, but improving gross motor skills, listening and following directions and it also fosters confidence among students. Some of the students can even skip now, which is a challenge for many people. Jordan Gunderson is 17 years old and just learned how to skip. Proudly, he asked me, "You saw it?" I saw it all right and was thoroughly impressed. "Is skipping hard?" I asked. With a big smile, Jordan replied, "No!"
While seeing progress made by students like Jordan and Carly is rewarding, what's most important to the dance teachers is to see the kids just being kids and celebrate life moving to music.
Kia says there is not another dance program like this in town. "There's nothing like this in northern Nevada. We're the only ones. Yes, I'm happy for that." Kia is also proud about how this program has grown. She hopes it will continue to attract special needs students and is willing to add another class to accommodate them. Also, since the cost of raising a child with special needs can be overwhelming, Kia is working to get sponsors for this program, so that tuition and costume fees are paid for.
To learn more about that or to find enrollment information, log onto www.frdance.net.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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