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Adult Dance Class
Adult Dance Class

Although not a US based story, I thought it a worthwhile story to share internationally. My name is Christophe Chateau and I teach a weekly dance class to adults with special needs as part of a life skills programme run by our local college. Many of the adults have Down Syndrome and they turn up every week to see what dance style we will use in our two hour session. Over the years we have worked on a variety of dance topics including balance, control, movement, choreography, counting and expression along with elements of various dance styles from across all the genres such as ballet, jazz, hip-hop, salsa, can-can, charleston, character, contemporary, line dancing, lindy hop, waltz and even samba. Every week the students amaze me in their ability to execute the moves along with their passion to take part – not forgetting of course their ‘team spirit mentality’ of correcting each-other when someone isn’t taking part in the proper fashion! Although the enjoyment of learning dance and some regular exercise are the key reasons for the class, it is the student comments that prove to me that these students are indeed very special in more ways than one. Every week, one particular student who takes a few minutes to join in, always comments throughout the class at the top of her voice, and above the music that “this is just like dancing” which always produces a smile from myself along with the key workers and assistants. Another student who is fairly quiet and reserved comes to life when she dances – verbal communication is often difficult however the dance cuts through any barriers each week and she lights up through her movement, her face and her body. I also have one lady who doesn’t speak English as her first language – but each week she joins in, follows the moves and leaves with a huge smile on her face. I’m often asked how old the students are in the class, and I actually don’t know. The college simply provide me with names and contact details for each student. However, when they are dancing, the students seem ageless; almost stuck in ‘time’ in a positive way and you simply forget that they are a mixed age class. They all work together no matter what their level of ‘ability’ and simply love to dance and join in. While I clearly can’t name any of the students individually, they are all extremely special to me. I have never worked with such an appreciative group of dance students who are so keen to learn and dance. I am delighted that the college run this course and am honoured to work with such wonderful abled people.




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