The Wurzels, Anne-Marie, Robert and Reagan, enjoying family time together.
WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. — Realtor® Anne-Marie Wurzel is a fighter. Like most moms, the sales associate with Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Winter Springs wants to make sure her daughter gets every opportunity to thrive. That’s because 3-year-old Reagan was diagnosed at birth with glutaric acidemia type 1, a rare, inherited metabolic disorder.
For years, Wurzel fought insurance companies to cover her daughter’s therapies, and she says she fights just as hard for her real estate customers.
“I tell them that dealing with homeowner’s insurance, mortgage and title is nothing,” she laughs.
It’s this spirit that moved Wurzel to bring a special workshop to the Orlando Ballet. After seeing a video of the New York City Ballet’s program for children with disabilities, Wurzel knew she needed to bring the program to Orlando.
“These kids need to have an opportunity to participate in things that are awesome, like dance, which is a form of therapy,” says Wurzel.
So, Wurzel called Orlando Ballet (orlandoballet.org). “They were receptive to the idea but wanted to include some doctors in the program,” she says.
Wurzel immediately reached out to Nemours Children’s Hospital and Orlando Health; officials at both thought the idea was “awesome.” An in-person meeting was set up and thus was born the Come Dance With Us program, a set of two workshops for children ages 3 to 6 with disabilities.
At each workshop, the children performed with Orlando’s own professional dancers. The workshop allowed health professionals and the ballet company to work together to create a meaningful and safe environment for these children who may not have the opportunity to experience performance art.
“The more integration between typical kids and special needs kids, the more amazing it becomes to watch these relationships blossom,” says Wurzel. “One of the dancers said she never worked with kids who had special needs. The program was good for both the kids and the dancers. It’s amazing to have friends who aren’t just like you, so to see the relationships develop between the kids and the dancers was wonderful.”
More events are planned for this year. To find out more about the Come Dance With Us workshops and the ongoing adaptive dance classes offered for children with Down’s Syndrome, please visit the Orlando Ballet’s website at orlandoballet.org.