Dance began as therapy for Molly Dennis, when she was just four years old.
Now aged 20, it has become a lot more – providing her with an inclusive and supportive community, the chance to perform, and the goal of becoming a dance teacher.
Down syndrome has not stopped Molly from pursuing this dream, and she is well on her way. She has danced various styles, including belly dancing, hip hop and jazz.
She was in Touch Compass’s Intergr8 hip hop performance crew and is now a teacher aide for Collette Wilson who runs her performing arts school at The Connection in Silverdale. Last year Molly pushed herself further out of her comfort zone, doing hip hop at Neverland Studios in Albany.
Family support, and mentors in the dance community have been crucial to Molly’s ability to live as independently as possible while pursuing her studies.
Her mother, chiropractor Dr Lorene Dennis, says that support is invaluable, but the drive comes from Molly.
“As with all our kids, they only get to do something if they are the ones who are motivated and practise independently,” she says.
Molly puts all that commitment simply, saying dancing brings her joy. She speaks of one day dancing on music videos with some of her favourite artists, including Stan Walker and Beyoncé, and also becoming a dance teacher.
She is working hard towards all those goals.
Just before lockdown in July, Colette was sick and asked Molly if she could teach all the classes on her own.
“Molly looked like she had just won Lotto – she lit up with joy and excitement,” Lorene says. “She taught all three classes on her own and loved every minute of it.”
Molly has an Instagram page, where she posts dance clips. It describes her as “living with down syndrome and redefining disability through dance”. Look for MollyKateDances, or follow this link: https://bit.ly/2Y8br0K.