Among the chaos of organizing COVID-19 safety protocols so dancers can return to the studio this fall, the crew at Dance Images by BJ have also been working to put together a new dance program for children with special needs.
It’s called Dancing Dreams, and it’s a new program envisioned by studio director Barb Jackman and assistant director Shauna Bzdel that will hopefully attract some attention.
“It’s geared towards children with special needs who might want a smaller class format because it’s too much noise,” said Jackman. “Maybe children with Down syndrome, maybe children with ADHD, maybe children that just need a less active type of class for their learning.”
The program will be small for now, accepting only four or five participants, and will pair a dance assistant with each child for the duration of the program, for both instruction and “cheerleader support.”
The idea was to offer a class that could cater to each students needs and provide a fun environment, free of any anxiety or competitiveness.
“I think everybody should have the opportunity to dance, and we’re excited to have the opportunity for children with special needs to take a class at the studio,” said Jackman. “I’m hoping that those who need a little extra special direction in a class or who wouldn’t maybe go into a class that was competitive [will join].”
Bzdel will be heading up the program, with her expertise and previous background in special needs education, and all of the teacher assistants taking part have completed special needs education training over the summer.
Dance Images is taking the lead from another studio, which is already running a program like this that includes all age groups.
“Their program runs an entire day because it has every age group, from the little guys right up to teens, and they learn their own choreography and dance at the year-end show,” said Jackman.
For now, the program won’t be able to take on dancers with any physical limitations, as the studio layout features stairs to all the necessary rooms, but Jackman is hoping there will be lots of interest in the program — enough to potentially expand in the future.
Dancing Dreams will begin at the end of September and those interested can contact the studio at 1 (306) 631-0584 for more information.