College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO Dance and Down Syndrome Music Theatre Campers To Perform At 2010 Buddy Walk

Sept. 20, 2010dance downs camper

Children and adults who performed scenes from "High School Musical 3" in last summer's Dance and Down syndrome music theatre camp at the University of Central Oklahoma have been invited to perform at the 15th Annual Buddy Walk, which raises awareness about Down Syndrome, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25 at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in downtown Oklahoma City.

The Dance and Down syndrome Music Theatre Camp, supported by the Aldridge Foundation, is directed by Central dance professor Robyn Pasternack. Pasternack has a 10-year-old daughter with Down syndrome and passionately believes that the camp is an extremely important part of Central's academic and social environment.

"I initially did this camp thinking of my daughter and her friends, but I see now how much the counselors-Central undergraduates-love it. The camp exposes everyone on campus to people with Down syndrome.  They eat with them, move around campus with them and interact in more ways than I ever expected," said Pasternack.

The Buddy Walk was established to celebrate Down syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. While the walk is supported nationally, it is organized at the local level by parent support groups, schools and other organizations.

Pasternack initially got involved through a parent support group, has continued as a member of the local Down Syndrome Association and is looking forward to seeing her campers perform.
 
"This is a really big deal because this is the most exposure this camp has gotten, and this is also the first time this camp has been invited to perform in the community outside of Central," said Pasternack.

Central Dance Department Chair Jamie Jacobson said having the campers perform at the event is a "win-win" for the department.   

"The Buddy Walk provides opportunities for our faculty and students to serve and support national, regional and local organizations that provide tremendous services to underserved and special populations.  We are most excited to be involved under Robyn Pasternack's great leadership," said Jacobson.
 
Central's Dance and Down syndrome summer music theater camp is one of more than a dozen summer camps administered by the Oklahoma Center for Arts Education (OCAE), a division of the UCO College of Fine Arts and Design.  

For more information on the 2010 Buddy Walk or to register to attend, please visit www.dsaco.org/buddywalk.

For more information on OCAE summer camps, visit www.ocae.net or contact Ines Burnham at (405) 216-2588.