Connecticut’s Greenwich Ballet Academy now offers free adaptive ballet classes for children with Down’s syndrome. Seventeen-year-old student Olivia Thurman created the program after seeing video footage of ballerina Keenan Kampa working with Boston Ballet’s adaptive-dance program. Inspired by what she saw, Thurman underwent training in adaptive-dance pedagogy at Boston Ballet and then held GBA’s first workshop last summer. The initial workshop was a success, and GBA has since added regular adaptive classes to its schedule. Students learn basic body positions and ballet terminology and develop strength, balance, coordination and social skills through classical ballet components and improvisational exercises.

Olivia Thurman (left) teaches a free adaptive ballet class at Greenwich Ballet Academy.

Photos: by Keelin Daly (for Hearst Connecticut Media), courtesy of Greenwich Ballet Academy

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