Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Program


View more photos from the Dance program.

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation launched the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance program in the spring of 2010 with ten children ages 5-9, all of whom have Down syndrome. The idea was conceived when parents complained that their child with Down syndrome was being ignored or that the dance teacher did not have the skills to incorporate the child at a “typical” dance class.

The resulting Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance program was developed by the Sie Center’s world-renowned physical therapist and Down syndrome expert, Patricia C. Winders. Organized by Global Down Syndrome Foundation, the Ann and John J. Sie Center For Down Syndrome and the Colorado Ballet, the program is based on the Boston Children’s Hospital dance program.

The philosophy behind the program is to provide parents a choice for their children with Down syndrome. For some parents, the program provides a spring board of confidence whereby they then enroll their children in a dance class for typical children. For others, the safety, therapy, and social networking of the program means the child will continue solely in the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance program. Get to know the instructors of the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance program.

The purpose of the program is to instill a lifelong love of dance and movement in each student. The students work on physical stamina, verbalization skills, following directions, and coordinated interaction. They learn ballet movement, music appreciation, rhythm and basic dance steps.

The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance program is comprised of three levels of classes serving children ages 5-14. The classes run one day a week for 16 consecutive weeks at the Colorado Ballet Academy, with spring and fall sessions. Each class culminates with a recital or showcase for approximately 100 family members and friends where the students show off their skills and their self-confidence!

A special thank you to our program sponsors the Melvin and Elaine Wolf Foundation and the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation!

Class Descriptions

• Introduction to Dance
Students will learn to participate fully in a typical dance class structure. Students will begin with a warm up comprised of eight developmental movement patterns: breath, tactile, core-distal, head-tail, upper-lower body, cross lateral, and vestibular. Students will work on fundamental gross motor skills such as gallop, skip, hop, jump, and balance, and incorporate these into working with partners. Dancers will work with dance concepts such as levels, speed, shape, body parts, and direction. Students are introduced to ballet and jazz dance vocabulary: 1st and 2nd position of the legs, demi plié, 1st port de bras.

• Ballet I
Students continue to work with eight developmental patterns as a warm up structure. Students will work to execute gross motor patterns that include: chasse forward and side, skip with big toe touching the standing leg knee, balance while moving the working leg, tip toe walks forward and backward, and leaps. Ballet vocabulary will include work introduced in “Introduction to Dance” as well as 2nd port de bras, pique front and side, tendu side, and sauté in 1st position. Dancers will explore further dance concepts of pathway, size, and rhythm (3/4 and 4/4 meter)

• Ballet II
Students continue to work with eight developmental patterns as a warm up structure. Dancers will continue to refine chasse, skips, tip toe and ballet walks, leaps and jumps and use these skills in more complex patterns. Students will continue to work with previous ballet vocabulary in addition to tendu front and back, rond de jambe, and polka step. Dancers will enjoy learning new combinations and furthering their understanding of dance concepts such as focus, energy and relationships.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Global’s programs please contact us at