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Dance studio pushing for more inclusion in the sport

Vanessa Terrell teaches one of her classes at her school The Pointe in Cedar Rapids

Vanessa Terrell always wanted to dance. From the time she was a child to being a small business owner in Cedar Rapids, her passion for the art and sport carries her through life. After she graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in dance, she also knew that she wanted to bring that passion to others and teach.

"It's both artistic expression and athletic and physical and to be able to be creative and expressive at the same time and being physical is really incredible," Terrell said. "Dance teaches confidence, poise, grace and self accountability and self responsibility, nobody else can make you do it, you have to do it yourself to really learn and to grow."

The sport is unique to her and because it provides so many benefits at the same time, she wanted to make it accessible to everyone. Her "Chance to Dance" class is the only opportunity in the Corridor for children with disabilities to actively participate in a dance class and be part of the fun. Terrell fondly remembers one of her first students in the "Chance to Dance" Program, Riley. Riley is in a wheelchair and had never been able to participate in dance.

"She was squealing with joy," Terrell recalls. "It's a great reminder for me of why I got into this business. While we all have some different limits and some different challenges, we can really do anything when we are fostered by the right people."

Terrell also works with the Cedar Rapids School District to be able to reach as many kids as possible. Her specialized instructors are trained to take care of children with disabilities, while also giving them the experience of a normal dance class, just like any other student would experience. She has owned "The Pointe School of Dance" now for three years and hopes to continue to bring the benefits of dance to many more kids fostering a can-do attitude on the dance floor.

"I have seen the benefits of dance education for kids," Terrell said. "Every kid should be able to experience those benefits, there wasn't an opportunity for kids with special needs here, so we made one."

If you want to learn more about the school or how to participate you can click here.

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