Local teen teaches kids with Down Syndrome how to have tutu much fun dancing

  • Monday, March 25, 2013

Bill Yates dons a purple tutu to help get the word out about Holland McDowell's ballet class for children with Down Syndrome.


On April 1 – April 4, while other 10th graders are enjoying a spring break, one local teen will be launching her new not-for-profit– The Purple Tutu.

Using her nine years of dance training, love of classical music and dedication to teaching, Holland McDowell, The Purple Tutu’s founder and instructor, will teach classical ballet to youth with Down Syndrome. Her goal is to pay it forward with some of the confidence, strength and grace that learning ballet has given her.

The mission of The Purple Tutu is to bring the beauty and artistry of ballet to dancers with Down Syndrome who may feel that classical dance training is out of their reach.

Holland was inspired to create The Purple Tutu when she learned that many children with Down Syndrome have great flexibility but lack the core strength that can be vastly improved through classical training.

Students will be accepted on a first come / first serve basis. Each class will be taught at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church. A $15 donation will be requested at class registration. All profits generated by The Purple Tutu will go to a scholarship fund to benefit the education of a child with special needs.

Participants are encouraged to wear sweatpants/yoga pants, a T-shirt and bare feet. Tutus will be provided for class use.

Holland McDowell began her formal dance training at age 7 with Charleston Ballet Theatre School and has been dancing for nine years. Holland is trained in classical ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and musical theatre. She has performed in productions including: Charleston Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Cinderella,” “The Wiz,” “Willie Wonka” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Holland attended The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Summer Dance 2012 program.

Holland currently studies under the direction of the Charleston Dance Institute, teaches ballet to children at Meeting Street Academy and attends the Academic Magnet High School (Class of 2015.)

If you would like to participate with the program or donate to The Purple Tutu, please email thepurpletutuballet@gmail.com.

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