Perform-Ability: History-making special needs dance group to take stage at World Latin Cup
By Mark Reddie
Updated 11 Sep 2017, 7:10pm
Years of hard work have paid off for a special needs dance group from the New South Wales central coast.
Perform-Ability is the first Australian team to qualify for the 2017 World Latin Cup to be held in the United States.
The group of 12 was selected for the Orlando competition after a win at the Australian Latin Dance Championships in July.
The dancers, aged between seven and 23, will take on performers from other countries in two limitless divisions in December.
"We are making history — this is the first team to be selected to represent Australia on the international stage in December," Perform-Ability founder Miranda Daisy said.
"We need to raise another $80,000 so we can take all 12 dancers to Orlando, where they will perform salsa and bachata routines.
"It's important we get the whole group there because it's partner dancing and it's not fair to only send a couple."
Kids no longer in the back row
Kayla Donaldson has been dancing since she was a teenager and she has dreams of making it big on Broadway.
"I just love dancing — it makes me feel special and I hope Orlando will eventually take me to New York or Hollywood," she said.
Dancer Liam Marynissan said he never thought he could do big things until he enrolled in the Perform-Ability program.
Ms Daisy said it was amazing to see how far the Perform-Ability program had come since it was established.
"I formed Perform-Ability seven years ago because parents with special needs children kept telling me how their kids were often excluded or put in the back row of a dance," she said.
"I met one girl with Down syndrome, she was so talented and full of personality that I thought there's a career for these kids as performers, and that's how Perform-Ability was born."
The dancers have been rehearsing weekly at the Wadalba Community School Hall in preparation for the World Latin Cup.