Adaptive Dance students in class. Photo by Brianne Bland.
At The School of Ballet Arizona (SBAZ), our instructors aim to create an atmosphere where every student is appropriately challenged, engaged, and supported as they learn the classical ballet art form. We recognize the importance of educating the whole child, and for children of all ages and abilities, dance is a wonderful way to educate their whole being, broaden their minds, and engage their spirits.
Instructor Kay Price couldn’t agree more. She leads our Adaptive Dance Program which helps students with neurodiversities learn classical ballet. Though her students face all kinds of unique and varied challenges, Ms. Price’s philosophy is to meet students where they are and create an environment that allows them to learn from each other as well as from the teacher and classroom mentors. She says, “For students with neurodiversities, it is very important to create an environment that allows for safe exploration and interaction at each individual’s pace. In our Adaptive program, it is an essential goal to provide avenues of opportunity for such growth.”
As is true for every class at SBAZ, the Adaptive program naturally and strategically cultivates students’ abilities through thoughtfully designed age and technique progressions. Ms. Price comes prepared with lesson plans based on observations from previous classes but always has options to venture off should the class move in a different direction. “The students reveal over time what they are ready for” she says.
The students that participate in the Adaptive program are able to experience not only the tradition of learning technique in the studio, but also the magic that occurs backstage at a performance. Ms. Price recalls during a recent performance opportunity with SBAZ, one of her students found a hidden talent. “A student who has been in the program for 5 years, recently discovered an interest in costuming. After being fitted in Ballet Arizona’s costume shop, they became intensely interested in how the costumes were constructed and how they were fitted and modified for each dancer who will be using it. As a result, this student ended up dressing their fellow classmates for the rest of the dress rehearsals and performances. It’s moments like these, where students can uncover and identify hidden gifts and abilities that reinforce my belief in the transformative power of dance.”