Dance therapy, the power of prom helping build confidence - myfoxcarolinas.com

Dance Therapy: The power of prom helping build confidence

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - You often hear about the power of dance, but this is something a little different: The power of prom.

Some kids are often left out because they are "challenged," and they've never known the rite-of-passage known as prom.

"They've seen in movies, and seen on TV, and a lot of them go to a regular high school, and for whatever reason they cannot attend the prom, and that's there for various reasons," said Bridget O'Brien.

All of those various reasons are swept aside and overcome by O'Brien, who owns Head 2 Toe Therapy Clinics in the valley, because the kids really wanted to have a prom.

Most of the students have never been to a dance or prom, so dance instructor Jamie Andersen has been practicing weekly with the kids for four months.

"So we're just trying to get them to know about personal space, and how to step to the music, keep the beat musically," said Andersen.

Volunteers came in from Brophy, Xavier and Tesseract High School's to help out.

The prom builds confidence and self esteem says Andersen. It builds excitement as they prepare for the big night with boys in suits and girls in pretty dresses.

Some prom-goers will select a dress from the back room where donated gowns wait for selection. The parents are part of the prom ritual too, but it's the kids who get the most out of it.

"Well, I hope I will dance with a boy," said one girl attending the prom.

"I am excited because it is fun," said a boy attending the prom.

"It's just about the normalcy of it, and other kids go to prom, get dressed up, you know dance, interact with their peers, so I've seen progress and motivation," said O'Brien.

O'Brien says that the goal of Head to Toe Therapy is to make young people as independent in the community as possible. She says the many skills they use just to be part of prom are all valuable in that goal.
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