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'A place for everybody' | Special needs dance group in Charlotte creates a space to explore new opportunities

A Chance To Dance will be featured in an upcoming documentary premiering in 2022.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The life of a dancer can look different from person to person, but members of A Chance to Dance in Charlotte are hoping to expand the standard perspective and showcase even more possibility.

The special needs dance group includes dancers of all ages and abilities. The group first started back in 2015 with only a handful of participants. Kim Smith, who founded the group, said she wanted to give other kids like her daughter more opportunities.

“My youngest daughter Reagan is on the autism spectrum and I was struggling to find activities outside of doctors appointments and therapies," Smith said.

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Several years later, she's worked to build multiple competition teams that show their talents under the same spotlight as every other dancer their age.

“Giving them the same opportunity, because for us it’s not about a trophy, it's about getting on the same stage and showing what these kids are truly capable of," Smith said.

Dancers like 14-year-old Ava Wright, who was born with a brain disorder, say the dance team is fun and a chance to meet all types of new friends.

“From people who have minor things to people who can barely move," Wright said. "It’s like a place for everybody.”

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Now that idea of inclusion is being highlighted on an even bigger stage with the help of DanceOn, a non-profit based outside of Chicago. They teamed up with A Chance To Dance for a special documentary showcasing the team and their talents.

“Hopefully show the whole world what can happen, how perspective can shift if you just open your eyes to what’s different," Smith said.

The red carpet documentary premiere will take place on January 8, 2022 at the Ayrsley Grand Cinema starting at 5:30 p.m.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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