Extra Credit: Ballet Therapy

By Kym Clark - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Dmitri Roudnev is a former dancer with the Bolschoi ballet and now director of the advanced ballet program for Children's Ballet in Memphis. But today's lesson, although using elements of ballet like strengthening and stretching, is actually Classical Conditioning for Boys and Girls with Mild Physical Disabilities.

"But what it does, it does balance the strength, the stretches and the strength, and the main target of it is the core muscle, the torso muscle." Dmitri Roudnev says.

"It teaches them how to keep the balance."

One of Roudnev's students is 15 year old Sydney Bolen who has cerebral palsy. She's only been taking the 45 minute class since last fall but, can already tell a difference in her balance and core strength.

Bolen giggles, "I fall a lot, like, just randomly - just like on a carpet or something. I'd just be like, 'Oh, there was a crack there that nobody else saw. I just fell over it.' Now I don't fall!"

The conditioning class can be intense. Sydney's mom, Tammy, says Roudnev doesn't coddle his students.

"So often with a child with a challenge, people just look at them and want to take care of them and want to kind of buffer for them and Dmitri hasn't had anything like that. He's really had these high expectations from the beginning and really pushed her to work toward those."

But for Sydney the class is a joy. It's dance related and who wouldn't want to be trained by a man who was trained by the Bolshoi Ballet. And even more so, Sydney says it's just fun!

If you have an idea for an Extra Credit report, please send an email to: extracredit@wmctv.com.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.