LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A group of local youths with Down Syndrome are looking forward to the opportunity of sharing their dancing talents after they were chosen to perform at the Special Olympic World Games.
The “Free To Be Me” dancers were selected to perform at the games, which are taking place in Los Angeles starting in late July, and are expected to draw plenty of thousands of spectators.
The group, which started six years ago, is no stranger to performing on stage, and they practice for two hours every Sunday.
“I love the audience”, dancer Emily shared, adding that she doesn’t feel nervous when she performs.
Another dancer, Marc Williams, struggles with a speech impediment, but he excels at movement.
“He was diagnosed when my wife was four months pregnant,” Marc’s father Ezell said.
Upon first diagnosis, Williams believed his dreams of raising an athlete were unattainable. However, the “Free To Be Me” group changed that, and Marc even began taking Aikido.
“I just put him into things and allow him to choose whether he likes it or not,” Ezell said.
Parents of the dancers say they hope that exposing their children to the world games will also help them to see other opportunities.
Colleen Perry says that is the reason she started the group.
“The program is catered just for them,” Perry said. “They’re not expected to do things they’re able or not capable of doing. They get self-esteem from that.”