MARYLAND

Disabled girls become ballerinas at Maryland Ballet

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It’s an inspiring story about a special place where little girls with special needs become ballerinas—a place where their disabilities don’t hold them back and for a little while, they get to dance.

Every Saturday, these little girls slip into a pair of ballet shoes, leotards and a specially made harness.

For an hour, these little girls who can't even walk get to dance—all at the Maryland Youth Ballet.

Six-year-old Sara Bach, who has Cerebral Palsy, took her first tiny steps as her mother watched in amazement.

“I was watching her face and it was like a light came on,” said her mother, Elizabeth Bach.

“She just kind of picked up her feet and she just started taking those tiny little steps and she was laughing and it was just an amazing moment, I mean I started crying,” Bach said.

A physical therapist works with each child, guiding the session.

There's even a pianist.

Each child is paired with two teenage girls, students here at the ballet school who give up every Saturday to make this commitment.

“They have to make a connection with the students so they know how much to push them and the student has to trust them,” said Maryland Youth Ballet Principal Michelle Lees.

Lees brought this state-of-the-art harness system to the school.

“So these students are now able to bear weight and learn rhythm,” Lees said.

For 12 year-old Laila Moghadam, who can’t walk or talk, the ballet is the one place she does not need her wheelchair.

“She's so happy when she comes here,” her mother, Nahid Moghadam said.

“Look at her, I mean, she gets so animated when the music starts,” Moghadam said, adding “she just loves it.”

They do love it, because here, every little girl can be a ballerina.

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