Aspiring Attitudes got its start when the parents of a child with cerebral palsy were unable to find a dance studio that would accept special needs students. The parents were referred to Shannon Wrights, our dance instructor. Their daughter thrived under Mrs. Wrights' teaching, gaining increased self-confidence and ease of movement. Over the next 10 years, more special needs individuals wanting the opportunity to dance were referred to Mrs. Wrights.
As time passed, Mrs. Wrights sought to develop a dance program where special needs and typical students would take classes and perform side by side. Therefore, she also began accepting typical students. Currently, approximately half of Aspiring Attitudes' students have special needs. All students now share the stage at an annual recital as well as performances at local assisted-living centers, arts festivals, and other community events.
Mrs. Wrights had been teaching students out of her home in a room specially designed as a dance studio. This space became insufficient due to the ever expanding number of students wanting to take dance lessons from Mrs. Wrights. A new studio space was leased and we moved into our new studio in August, 2017.
Shannon Wrights knows from personal experience that dance is a vital means of developing self-confidence and a "can-do" attitude. Shannon, who is visually impaired, finds that dance gives her positive energy. She walks with grace and confidence and has learned to demand a high standard of herself as well as her students.
Shannon received a Bachelor of Science in Dance Management from Oklahoma City University. She has been teaching since 1997. She has taught for local dance studios, a home school coop, and The Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled. She began her own studio in 2009.
Shannon received the George B. Lewis Advocacy Award, an award given by the Oklahoma City Mayor's committee to individuals who are disabled and work in the community with individuals with special needs. Shannon was a Oklahoma City News Channel 4 Pay it Forward recipient in 2012. Shannon has also been recognized as an honoree on the Morgan's Wonderland Walk of Fame. Morgan's Wonderland is a theme park in San Antonio, TX where individuals with special needs are the main focus. All rides and activities at Morgan's Wonderland are designed to be all-inclusive. Honorees are placed on the Walk of Fame for their work with special needs individuals.
Shannon believes in each student reaching their highest potential. Very few dancers will become professionals, so dance is taught mostly to students who just have a passion to learn the art of dance. Whether the student is in a wheelchair, uses a walker, has autism, or just simply does not like a large dance studio, each student is treated as an individual with their own needs and abilities.