Life Stories

Joffrey Ballet helps dancers with cerebral palsy achieve dreams

Data pix.

CHICAGO — Almost all dancers dream of performing on stage with a famous ballet company, but very few get to achieve it.

As WGN’s Erin Ivory reports, two young dancers are realizing that dream thanks to Joffrey Ballet.

“To have a child with cerebral palsy, there is a stigma that you won’t get to do a lot of things in life”, said Pam Lookatch.

Even at the tender age of four, daughter Emma expressed how much she wanted to dance.

“It was always her dream to dance like her sister,” said Lookatch. “These students are particularly smart about what they’re doing.”

“There are the physical benefits of dance, there’s strength and flexibility, there’s mind and awareness and body connection but then there’s the joy of dance,” class instructor Ms. Trish said.

For the first time, the Joffrey Ballet added two new roles this year to their children’s cast, both from the academy’s adaptive dance program.

“I love being part of the Joffrey’s Nutcracker” said 14-year-old Emma Lookatch.

A dream realized under the lights of Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theatre.

“Tears, just tears” said Pam Lookatch. “To watch her on stage, it felt surreal… a dream come true.”

For more information on the Joffrey Academy’s adaptive dance program, click here.