Helping Works

Dance Arts Academy gives children with special needs a place to shine — and shimmy

Once a week, children with special needs can learn all types of dance in an encouraging environment at Darby’s Dancers classes at the Dance Arts Academy.
Once a week, children with special needs can learn all types of dance in an encouraging environment at Darby’s Dancers classes at the Dance Arts Academy.

Frolicking, twirling, leaping — all things kids love to do.

And what better way to express themselves, learn new moves and just flat-out have fun than in a safe, positive space.

Enter Dance Arts Academy.

In addition to teaching a variety of dance classes for children since 1976, the academy launched a free dance education program for children with special needs in January at its Meridian location, 2989 Copper Point Drive.

The Darby’s Dancers-Exceptional Movers classes are held on Saturday mornings for two age groups, at 9:15 and 10 a.m., through May, with the exception of spring break.

Children will learn all types of dances and “gain confidence, coordination, strength and lifelong friends, all while feeling like a star.”

Not only are the dance classes free, but costumes and other supplies are provided at no cost.

Dance Arts Academy partnered with Darby’s Dancers, a national nonprofit that “provides an opportunity for children with special needs to participate in the performing arts through dance education.” Founded by the parents of Darby Jones of Huntsville, Alabama, the program was developed to honor Darby’s legacy, who had Down syndrome and was an avid dancer before she lost her life to leukemia in 2013.

The program currently serves more than 20 children from the Treasure Valley.

Volunteer opportunities are also available for teens to assist the students in these adaptive classes.

To learn more about Dance Arts Academy and the Darby’s Dancers program, or to donate, go to danceartsboise.com or contact Dotty Hancock, owner/director, at 208-345-4832.

Michelle Jenkins compiles event calendars, archives and writes a Helping Works column for the Idaho Statesman. She attended Boise State University and grew up in New Plymouth, Idaho.


  Comments