Plié To Recuperate

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Christina and Grace Hanford

Pink is a color usually associated with ballet for tutus and ballet slippers, but twice a year at Berest Dance Center in Port Washington, the color represents the restorative classes created to help breast cancer survivors suffering from neuropathy pain.

Started by Grace Hanford (now 21) when she was a sophomore at Manhasset High School, the biyearly program called Ballet For Recuperation has been running successfully for seven years. Hanford’s sister Christina (now 17) took over the program when Hanford went off to college.

“Grace is very passionate about dance, so she wanted to combine her passion for dance with community service,” said Christina. “When she left for college, I decided to continue because of the positivity and health benefits and how many people it affected.”

Ballet For Recuperation runs six free classes in the fall and the spring funded by Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer. The program taught by Floryn Glass combines beginner ballet moves at the barre like pliés and simple stretches to lessen pain.

“Through research, ballet has proven to help side effects from chemotherapy,” said Christina.

When asked why breast cancer survivors should try the program, Christina explained that the program provides a supportive and therapeutic atmosphere and requires no prior knowledge of ballet.

“Everyone finds their way to fit into the class and what works for them and what does help their pain and what doesn’t,” said Christina.

Remaining classes will run Oct. 14, 21 and 28, and Nov. 4 at Berest Dance Center located at 12 S. Washington St., Port Washington.

“It’s honestly amazing,” said Christina of what it’s like to watch a class. “I see the progress myself in each of the students per week. When they do come every class, I can see they do improve in their own way. After they leave, I can see that they feel very positive and feel they accomplished something so I feel I’ve accomplished making them feel better.”

For more information about classes, contact Christina at christina_hanford@hotmail.com.

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