Ana Malaniuk is just the most recent in a string of heroes transforming the Down syndrome narrative.
After being jilted by one dance studio for failing to fulfill their “standards,” the 6-year-old continued to pursue her passion, joining a separate studio where she eventually dominated the routine below.
The video, posted by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, has had nearly 75,000 views. In it, Ana dances to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — clearly demonstrating she’s more than capable of busting a move.
Ana’s mother Sonja told Global News her daughter has transformed since joining Amanda’s Academy of Dance, a studio that welcomes children of all kinds:
“She’s met so many friends. Her confidence has grown hugely and she just loves it…to see her on the stage, to see her with the teachers, to see her happy… It’s amazing to see that people are willing to give her a chance.”
As Sonja says, kids with Down syndrome are very capable of memorizing and dancing to the studio’s routines, “they just need a little more time” to get it down.
Just like the public needs a little more time to grasp that kids like Ana are just as capable as others.