Children with Challenges

Creative Dance for Children with
Physical/Developmental Challenges

Section 1: Saturday 2-3 p.m. • Section 2: Tuesday 4:15-5:15pm

Placement in Section 1 or 2 is determined by instructors.

“Dance is an artistic form that provides participants an opportunity to learn through use of the body in motion.” -M. Zitomer (2011)

Creative Dance 
Some years ago, Galynn White, a little girl who had been born with osteogenesis imperfecta, announced to her respite care provider, Jerry Hull, that she wanted to become a ballerina when she grew up. Jerry called School of Minnesota Ballet to see what could be done. In 1990 School of Minnesota Ballet was delighted to establish a ballet class geared for children with physical or developmental challenges, recognizing that the joy of dance should be for everyone.

The underlying constructs of the Creative Dance program are in concert with the other courses offered by the school: promotion of body and spatial awareness, musicality, understanding and responding to oral and/or visual cues, and developing recall skills.

Modifications are made to suit the needs of each student, centering first on grasping the anatomical purpose of the exercise before moving to an aesthetic outcome. Through teacher demonstration and consistent class structure, students improve their ability to imitate movement and recall movement skills. In this way, creative dancers work on movement, like marching and arm circles, as well as more complex ballet movements, like balancés and piqué turns. Students are also encouraged to listen and move with the music being played. 

The purpose of the class is two-fold: to promote personal growth and to foster joy in movement. To help facilitate this, instructors are sensitive to potential physical discomfort dancers may feel and give space for students to create their own movement adaptations. School Of Minnesota Ballet  offers in two different classes to better accommodate students’ range of experience and abilities.

Class Description
The class begins with isolation exercises of the head, neck, shoulders, and hips, taking into account the mobility restrictions of each student. These stretches not only properly warm up muscles for the activities to come, but they also increase general flexibility. Once muscles are warmed up, various exercises and activities build muscles and coordination. Stretching and strengthening exercises are adapted to the individual abilities of each student.

Once students are properly warmed up, they begin to follow dance instruction, including floor patterns, rhythm, and basic dance steps, again all tailored to the abilities of each student. The small class size allows each student to receive individual attention and encouragement.
The main objective of the class is to expose students to the joy of movement. Other objectives include improving self-esteem, musicality, motor skills, and discipline. Accompanying music features a variety from Broadway musicals to the classics.

The highlight of the school year is the opportunity to perform in the annual School of the Minnesota Ballet Student Performance, typically held at the DECC Symphony Hall. Students not only gain performing experience, but they show parents, friends, and the community the skills they have diligently worked on during the year.

Financial aid is available.

For more information on how to register, or tuition,
contact:

Principal Teacher-LilaAnn Coates White lcoateswhite@minnesotaballet.org
Artistic Director-Karl von Rabenau kvonrabenau@minnesotaballet.org 
Executive Director-Kelli Latuska klatuska@minnesotaballet.org

The Creative Dance Class Instructors are Rachel Fuchs and Suzie Baer.