Ev­ery two months, it’s Fri­day night fever for dis­abled adults

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - By Ciara O’Rourke corourke@states­man.com valentino mauri­Cio / for amer­i­Can-StateS­man

SAN MAR­COS — Belinda Em­brey is at the front of a grow­ing line, and a witch is try­ing to push past, cut­ting in front of a monk, a devil and a but­terf­fiy.

“Back up,” Em­brey says, stick­ing a hand in the witch’s face. “The dance starts at 7. Back. Up.”

For years, Em­brey has at­tended the themed dances for adults with dis­abil­i­ties that the city of San Mar­cos hosts ev­ery two months. Her mother, Sue Wil­liams, drives her 25 miles from their home in Lul­ing early enough so that Em­brey can be ffrst in line.

The cos­tume dance in Oc­to­ber is no ex­cep­tion.

Em­brey says she shows up early to guard the door for city staff mem­bers. Wil­liams says it’s be­cause her daugh­ter wants to be the ffrst one on the dance ffioor.

She’s among many adults with men­tal or phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties who take shel­ter in the As­sem­bly Room at the San Mar­cos Ac­tiv­ity Cen­ter six times a year. They cross out days on the cal­en­dar as the dances loom, and they stand in a line that snakes around the room in the min­utes be­fore the doors open. And when the mu­sic ff­nally starts, their par­ents sit qui­etly on fold­ing chairs in the shad­ows.

Em­brey, 55 and 4 feet 8 inches, has Down syn­drome.

Belinda Em­brey of Lul­ing takes a break from door man­ag­ing Fri­day to shake a leg at the San Mar­cos Ac­tiv­ity Cen­ter dur­ing a cos­tume dance for adults with dis­abil­i­ties.

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