Dancing to their own beat
Waukesha dance center offers lessons for children with special needs

By ANDREA FENCL - Freeman Staff

June 9, 2017

                                      

Students warm up before tryouts for Liberty Dance Center’s Performing Company on Tuesday night.
Submitted photo

WAUKESHA — Liberty Dance Center, 404 Travis Lane, is offering a free dance education program for children with special needs with the help of Darby’s Dancers, a national nonprofit dance organization.

“Our program will be completely free to the families of the participating dancers, including weekly classes, dance shoes, attire and recital costumes,” Katy Moody, owner of Liberty Dance Center, said in a press release.

Having close family and friends that work with children with disabilities, Moody said she always had this idea for a program. After meeting Valerie Jones, founder of Darby’s Dancers, in February at a convention, the program became a reality.

“It felt like it just fit,” Moody said. “It’s something we want to kick off and make it a full part of our studio.”

The program will begin during the studio’s summer session starting June 20 and running until the end of July, with classes on Tuesday afternoons. The program will then resume with the school year, with classes on Saturdays. There will be two classes, one for children ages 4 to 7 and another for children ages 8 through teens.

“We have several local businesses generously offering donations to help us launch these classes,” Moody said in a press release.

Local dance clothing store Ballera will provide free shoes for the dancers. Other local businesses involved in the program include Chef Jack’s, Meijer Foods, Roundy’s, RE/MAX Service First and Culver’s on North Grandview Boulevard.

Each special needs student who joins the program will be paired with a student helper. Moody said the student helpers were required to fill out applications and collect recommendations to ensure that they will be a good fit for the position. Along with the dance instructor, there will also be coaches to assist during the lessons.

“We have a really good advisory panel to make sure we have everything covered,” Moody said.

Moody plans for the program to offer ballet, jazz and hip-hop, although she said they will adjust the class to match each child’s needs so the students feel comfortable.

When the school year begins, Moody said, she is planning on having the students put on a recital with outfits.

“They will get the whole experience,” Moody said.

Liberty Dance Center is open to suggestions regarding the classes and welcomes parents and children interested in participating to attend an open house at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. During the open house, children interested in participating can take part in a session to become acquainted to the space and the teachers while parents learn more about the program and provide feedback. Shoe sizing will also take place for the students who plan to join. Refreshments will be served.

Liberty Dance Center, founded in 2008, provides instruction in various styles for over 400 students between the ages of 2 to 18. The Waukesha Chapter of Darby’s Dancers at Liberty Dance Center is the 20th location in the country and second in the state.

For more information contact the studio at 262249-9698 or email info@libertydancecenter.com.

Email: afencl@conleynet.com