Young students at CTC Academy in New Jersey gathered Tuesday for the school’s ninth annual ballet recital. The dancers, who face physical, medical and developmental challenges, celebrated their big night after a full year of rehearsals, PIX 11 News reported.
The dance recital was originally launched by Lynn Barral, a pediatric physical therapist and assistant director at the center. The school, which provides services and programs for children with special needs, uses ballet to help students develop their motor skills and a greater sense of focus — as well as enjoy a spirit of camaraderie.
“No matter what their ability is, the children know that there is something special and exciting happening for them,” Barral told PIX11 News. “I think that is so thrilling.”
According to northjersey.com, each student in the ballet program is paired with an aide who helps them learn routines. Because many of the young dancers cannot walk or speak, music and dance prove to be a universal language.
“We have one little girl who never indicated any acknowledgement of anything that people were saying, but every time we say ‘Here’s a dance for your legs,’ she kicks her leg,” physical therapy assistant Margaret Nogaki told the news site. “It just makes you realize how much is in some of these children, but they can’t communicate it.”
Tuesday’s performance took place at the therapy center’s Fair Lawn, New Jersey, campus, with all the ballerinas dressed in gowns, floral headbands and pink tutus.
“It really is a dream come true to see her participate in something that I see so many other children participate in,” one of the dancer’s parents, Elana Lefkovitz, told PIX 11 News. “And it really wouldn’t have been able to happen except here.”