It’s funny that which sparks us to blaze down one path over another, again and again throughout our lives. With hindsight, it is so easy to see how a miniscule change; a chance encounter with a stranger led to the job you now hold, some 20 years later, or placing an ad for a temporary roommate finds you sitting across the table from that person, now your husband and father of your children.
It’s breathtaking how the small, sometimes uneventful, at the time, details turn into what has become your “every day.” For Sarah Haworth, a childhood friendship was the seedling that sprouted into her life’s passion and one that has special needs individuals on their feet and dancing to her beat.
When Sarah was a child she had a friend who had autism. As many know, the struggle for special needs kids in schools can get explosive and physical for all involved at times, and when that happened to Sarah’s friend, the teachers would enlist her help to settle her friend down and coax him back into the classroom. Sarah had that special gift of calmness that she would generously bestow upon her friend and even though they eventually lost touch, the friendship they had shared was going to become a large factor in her future life’s decisions.
Dancing had been a central point in Sarah’s life from an early age. The sudden death of her sister, who tragically passed away at a young age, spurred Sarah to throw herself into dancing. She would go on to win many competitions, including the Junior World title in American Rhythm, American Smooth, and International Latin. Sarah became a professional dancer as a teenager and was able to achieve the 2011 World Professional American Rhythm Rising Star Champion Title, the 2012 United States Professional American Rhythm Rising Star Champion, and became a finalist in the 2012 World Professional American Smooth Rising Star Division. Sarah moved to Sarasota in 2013 where she and dance partner Masksym Lototskyy began to compete in the Professional Rhythm division along with the Professional American Smooth style. Their dance expertise is highly sought after at Dynasty Dance Clubs of Sarasota. The importance of Sarah’s childhood friendship would become evident at the dance studio where she not only met the love of her life, but the two set out on a journey to bring the joy of dancing to special needs students who were dear to both of their hearts.
For Sarah Haworth and fiancé Masksym Lototskyy, a mutual fondness and respect for special needs individuals finds them in harmony both on and off the dance floor. As owner of Dynasty Dance Clubs, Masksym shares heartfelt passions with Sarah and the two of them have been able to transcend those connections into a popular Ballroom dancing program for individuals with special needs.
Dynasty Stars is a unique program servicing nearly 30 students affected by autism, epilepsy, and Downs syndrome. The fun that Sarah has experienced through her students in this class have added an intense pleasure and meaning to her daily life. She describes helping these students past the tactile difficulties so many of them have where close physical face-to-face contact with others can be extremely uncomfortable. She has seen their eye contact and social skills grow and improve each time the students meet. What began as a class of two students, has grown to dozens of students and their families enjoying the classes. The idea came to Sarah as she watched a sibling of one of her students, who had Downs syndrome, waiting for a class to be done, and invited him to join along. Sarah’s “Dynasty Stars” have gone on to win titles at dance competitions and the groups enjoy performing for students at Booker High School and other venues around town, along with upcoming shows at their studio this fall, including a Fantasy Show which will include Disney animation.
But, for Sarah, the main highlight is seeing the anxiety fall from the shoulders of parents and family members who get to experience joy watching their loved one overcome an obstacle and witnessing the sense of accomplishment her students exude. She loves being a part of the kids’ friendships which are continuously made through the classes and revels in the can-do attitude of her students. If you ask her what the formula is for this successful and heartfelt venture she will tell you she has high expectations for these students and they have not let her down yet. Along with learning difficult instructional skills, Sarah and Masksym also teach the lost art of etiquette and social manners to the children who delight in performing for their growing audiences. And for Sarah, a childhood friend and the choice to be kind were all the incentives needed to push this dancing champion into being an advocate for those with special needs. It looks like she is winning in all her endeavors and the special needs students of Sarasota County are experiencing the joys that dancing brings because of her commitment. If you would like to learn about this, or any of the classes that Dynasty Dance Clubs offers, please visit http://dynastydanceclubs.com
Photos courtesy of Dynasty Dance Clubs Facebook page