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International Dance Day with ADD & Mikayla Holmgren

Updated: May 25, 2018

A celebration of dance, friendship, and the inspiration to dream big!

On April 29th, I had the pleasure of teaching my first Raise The Barre workshop for Advocates for Developmental Disabilities of Steele County. I knew I could teach them so

many fun dance moves, and provide them with skills that they can use every day; however, I also knew they would benefit so much greater from someone truly inspiring. I called in a favor to my friend, Mikayla Holmgren, and she was thrilled to help teach the

class with me. She is a beautiful dancer, goes to college at Bethel in their BUILD program, was the first woman with down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA pageant, and she'll tell you, "Oh, and I have a little down syndrome on the side," She is a true champion, and was so inspiring to the children who took our class.

We had such a fun class and got the parents to join in, which the children loved. Our warm up incorporated our imagination, thinking of warming our feet up around a campfire and roasting our marshmallows during our stretching exercises. It is so important to me that I give the kids all the love and support to have fun, explore their own movement, and their incredible abilities. Mikayla loved showing the children how to execute each dance move we learned. She was so motivating for the students to try it out and have fun doing so. We also worked on a rhythm exercise to incorporate the musical aspect of dance. The kids had so much fun clapping along to the beat.

I think everyone's favorite part of the class was our improvisation activity at the end. I

brought out some iridescent scarves and told them it looks like water. We used the scarves to dance around like rain drops, waves, a hurricane, a flowing river, and a waterfall. It was such a joy to see the students express themselves. The parents had the biggest smiles on their faces the whole class because their child was being given a wonderful opportunity and their child was able to do everything I taught them, despite their disability.

I will continue to work with disability centers to give more students this opportunity. It is important to me that my platform, Raise The Barre, fosters an inclusive environment at every school I attend. I will continue to inspire kids to dream big and show them that they can do anything they set their mind to no matter their demographic background, gender, or ability.

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