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One “Dance” Step a Time

Amelia Vallillo, a senior at Ludlow High School, has turned her fifteen-year personal passion for ballet into an incredible mission to bring the joy of dance to kids and adults with various challenges.  A student of classical ballet since the age of three, Amelia first fell in love with dance at Connecticut Dance School, a not-for-profit 501©3 organization in Fairfield dedicated to dance education of the highest standard.

"I have always danced ballet”, says Amelia. "It offers me a creative outlet and has developed my self-discipline. It's also really fun." Ballet has also provided a way for Amelia to support a cause that is as meaningful to her as dance itself. "My uncle has cerebral palsy and deals with mobility issues. He has really inspired me to do more through dance," she says.

For the past four years, Amelia has actively volunteered at her dance school, as part of the Dance 4 All Abilities program. This is an adaptive dance class at Connecticut Dance School for children facing various challenges. The classes provide fun, small-group instruction using creative movement principles with modified ballet techniques. 

Amelia’s volunteer efforts in the Dance 4 All Abilities program have even included performances with these children. “The performances are so special. It's important for ability-diverse people and their parents to participate and experience the physical and emotional benefits of dance," she says. The program led Amelia to bring this access to dance even further, by starting an outreach program through various group homes and work programs. "So far, I have volunteered at Abilis and Sunset Shores to bring the impact of "Dance 4 All Abilities" to an even broader audience. I usually recruit some of my dance friends and we either perform ballet or teach a class, and the experience is always so rewarding." 

Amelia is sharing her story to spread the word so that more people can take advantage of this opportunity. "At every performance or event, people are always so excited to watch and participate,” she says. “I want to help Connecticut Dance School create more awareness. I’ve been helping the Dance 4 All Abilities program expand through an outreach program with Special Education departments in neighboring towns so that more kids with varying challenges who are interested in dance, can participate". 

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