MENTAID celebrates World Down Syndrome Day
More than 100 people gathered to...
It was a dark March Melbourne morning when e.motion21 staff and volunteers began unloading the equipment to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. In only a few hours, Federation Square’s iconic stage would be transformed to showcase the dance and fitness abilities of children and young adults with Down syndrome.
As the sun rose, the TV cameras packed up after their live national broadcast promoting the lunchtime show. Excitement and energy levels bubbled as families and friends starting arriving from throughout Victoria.
Showtime! The fun instantly began with the release of 70 large colourful balls bouncing in and above the crowd in time to energetic tunes. A delighted crowd couldn’t contain their laughter and participation. A diverse group of CBD workers, school groups, disability groups, tourists, family members and onlookers became one, pulled unconsciously together into the lunchtime fun.
The crowd stilled in silence when the e.motion21 dancers graced the stage in a moving performance. Then, a burst into a high energy routine with the Carlton football club to launch the new Beat Fit program was met with loud cheers! The powerful and dynamic rhythmic drumming on exercise balls to choreographed movements was infectious. It was impossible not to dance and clap in response to the joy on the performers faces!
It was a truly memorable show. There was not a single volunteer, parent or spectator in the 1000 strong crowd not touched and humbled by the enthusiasm, commitment and talent displayed by these young people on stage.
Performing at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD was a thrill for these children and young adults with Down syndrome, and equally for those who support and encourage them every day to be the best they can be. Their freedom to express themselves through dance, and the pride taken in sharing their individual talents, is inspiring. It was a privilege to witness such a special event and I have no doubt that many will be forever impacted by the experience.
To leave with aching facial muscles from smiling so broadly throughout the performance was a pleasure! Could there be a more uplifting way to spend a Friday lunchtime? I think not!