The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

September 14, 2011

New dance studio caters to special needs children

HUNTSVILLE — Running, jumping, playing, dancing – there are many normal activities that children take for granted. Some children with disabilities are unable to take part in these activities, but one local woman aims to change that.

Sheila Cannon has opened On Pointe Dance Company, a dance studio that will cater to children with special needs while still providing dance instruction to those without disabilities.

Cannon's mission for the business is to provide a place “where dancing has no limits.” Cannon has had extensive experience working with special needs children. She serves as the advisor for the Sam Houston State University chapter of Project Sunshine, a group that provides services and programming for special needs children and their families. She's also the parent of a child with special needs.

“They will be called the limitless dancers,” she said. “I have a long-term relationship with the special needs community. I want everyone in the community to be able to find an outlet for them to be able to express themselves.”

When classes started the first week of September, Cannon said eight students attended the class taught by Meghan Grout. Since then, several more children have signed up to learn dances such as tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop and contemporary.

“It's been really good,” she said. “A lot of people didn't know I was opening a studio, but neither did I. My daughter, Kylie, has been dancing for 12 years. We had a dream to one day open a dance studio. When Kylie's studio closed, my husband, Ronnie, and I came up with the idea of opening one.”

Within three weeks of deciding to open a studio, the Cannon family had found a location, remodeled and started registering students. Parents of special needs children in the community have been particularly responsive to the idea of dance classes for their children, Cannon said.

“Their child needs more social interaction and this is another tool for them to be able to express themselves through dance,” she said. “We will be very competitive and I will be taking all of them to competition. I know I'm small, but I'm planning on expanding.”

On Pointe Dance Co., 1308 B. Sam Houston Avenue, is located two doors down from Mayflower Bakery. Ages 3 to adult are welcome. For more information, call (936) 435-1315, search for On Pointe Dance Company on Facebook or visit www.onpointedancecompany.com.

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