By Ukee Washington


LANSDALE, Pa. (CBS) — A Montgomery County dance school owner has been teaching students for 42 years, but a few years ago, she added a class unlike all her others. We got to meet Abby McEntee, who has six years of dance experience under her belt, not bad for an 11-year-old. Her mom Joanne couldn’t be happier.

“Just to see the smile on her face, it just means so much to me,” Joanne said.

As if on cue, Abby smiled and leaned into her. “Just like that!” Joanne said.

The dance classes, called Jump for Joy, are specifically for children with Down syndrome.

“They’re just like a sponge. and they just want to keep learning,” said dance studio owner Jane Lopoten.

She started the classes in 2013 after enrolling a student with Down syndrome. Now she hosts three Jump for Joy classes every week at her dance school in Lansdale for age groups up to 18.

“You have to go maybe a little bit slower until they get a new step,” Jane said. “They are so attentive. They want to learn so much.”

The classes usually cost almost $700 for 33 weeks. But they are free, thanks to an anonymous donor.

“And they are with kids who are just like them,” Abby’s mother said, “so it feels like a family. It’s so wonderful for her to be here.”

Abby agreed. “It is a family!”

“It is a family, that’s right!” Joanne said. “It’s so wonderful for her to come here and feel so good about herself.”

Jane says the pleasure is all hers.

“These children have brought so much into my life. They have basically made my life complete,” she said.

Jane said she would welcome more students with Down syndrome to sign up for the Jump for Joy classes. The best way to reach her is by email: jlopoten@gmail.com

Ukee Washington