Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dancing for Those with Autism

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- He spends his nights reading bedtime stories to his daughter. She curls up next to him in her pajamas listening about far away lands and princesses who require a single kiss to awaken.
Ariana Angel, a 5-year-old high-functioning autistic child, has memorized a book she's only heard once before. She recited each line flawlessly back to her father, Joshua Angel, a 32-year-old single father and Gainesville resident.
Angel, a former West Coast swing dance instructor, is the event planner for the "Angels & Devils Autism Fundraiser Dance & Costume Party," to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the Gainesville Dance Association hall at 308 West University Ave.
"She is also a computer wizard, can run our Wii like a long-time gamer and is quite adept with my smart phone," Angel said of Ariana, a student at Norton Elementary. "And she's way better than me at Angry Birds."
On the off time when he's not getting beat at launching birds at little green pigs, he's busy planning the Friday night autism fundraiser.
Angel began teaching West Coast swing, his favorite dance, at the Sunshine Eagles Club in Gainesville two years ago but realized there were no opportunities to put the moves his students learned onto the social dance floor.

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