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Bringing ballet to kids with disability

Danielle Edwards
Sydney Opera House

Just one week after her first dance class, Chloe Saxby was diagnosed with Vanishing White Matter disease, a rare degenerative brain disease for which there is no cure. She was three years old.

Now she’s aged eight and thanks to a partnership between The Australian Ballet and the Sydney Opera House, Chloe’s experienced what it’s like to be a professional dancer.

The Australian Ballet’s Out There program brings dance workshops to schools, targeting those outside metropolitan areas. This August, Out There joined forces with the Sydney Opera House’s Accessibility program which seeks to make the Opera House available to anyone regardless of their ability. Chloe was one of 225 students who watched a specially choreographed version of The Sleeping Beauty and developed their movement skills, creative thinking and fitness with dancers from The Australian Ballet’s Dance Education Ensemble.

It’s the first time that the Out There program has been offered to children with disability. ABC 730 came along to follow Chloe’s experience. 

“The Opera House belongs to us all and it's vital that everyone feels welcome.”
Jenny Spinack, SOH Accessibility Manager

ABC report on Out There

Press play to watch video

Accessibility has been a key focus at the Opera House in the past decade, with significant progress achieved through initiatives like innovative programming, tours, programs for children and adults with disability. In August 2016 the Opera House announced major building upgrades as part of our Renewal which will include further improvements to accessibility.

“The Sydney Opera House belongs to us all and it’s vital that everyone feels welcome and is able to engage with us as deeply and in as many ways as they wish,” said Sydney Opera House Accessibility Manager Jenny Spinak. “Fostering new collaborations between the Opera House and its resident companies to provide inclusive educational arts experiences for people with disability is a key focus of our latest Access Strategic Plan, and initiatives like Out There demonstrate the impact of what we can achieve together.”

Get more information

To learn more about our accessible programs, visit our Access Centre

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