Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fully inclusive dance class

I'd like Maybelle to take a dance class this fall--not, I feel compelled to add, because of gender stereotyping, but because she loves to dance.  Loves it.  I've contacted a few dance studios in Charleston, and here's the message I've sent:

I'm really interested in the [whatever preschool eclectic dance] class you're offering this fall.  My daughter is five, and she has Down syndrome. She loves dancing, and she's learning to be better and better at following instructions and watching and imitating her peers.  I wanted to confirm that this will be okay with this class.

Dancing with Uncle TreyI've gotten some responses that have suggested that, well, this might be okay, but we're just not sure.  You know, we've had some kids with intellectual disabilities in the class before, but they couldn't pay attention the right way, so we've asked them to leave and try again next year.  You know.  Intellectual disabilities.  So unpredictable.  Not like the normal kids.

These places have obviously been a resounding NO for me.  I've got no interest in subjecting Maybelle to the kind of scrutiny that immediately frames her as different and potentially problematic.  In a class for 3-5 year olds, exactly how much dedicated attention do they expect?

I emailed DanceFX, a studio just down the street from our house.  Here's the response I got to my message:
That's Awesome! We would love to have her come take class:) Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help her learn and grow with us.   Thank You!
Where do you think Maybelle will be attending dance classes this fall?  DanceFX, and I want to give them public acclaim for their appropriate, enthusiastic reaction to having Maybelle in their Pre-K Discover Movement class, which sounds totally fun.

DanceFX:  a great place for kids!  (And also a great place for more adult dance, if you're interested in that).


  1. That is awesome Alison! And, Id like to point out that they even go the extra mile to ask if there is anything they need to know to help Maybelle have as much fun as possible! That's what everyone's reaction should be!

  2. Jenny Broe is the most amazing person ever! By the way, the strip aerobics class with her is what I did as my activism project for Third Wave Feminism as a wee freshman, I dont know if you knew that! She also gave me a scholarship to take all the classes I wanted because I couldn´t pay for them. I am so glad, though not surprised, that they are a great fit for you and Maybelle. I love, love, love them. Maybe we should make them an award for being awesome? :) I am so glad to hear you are doing well!

  3. Jenny is leading dancefx in such an open way - wanting to share and teach dance with everyone who wants to learn. She is making a big difference in a lot of lives. I'm not one bit surprised by her response. She welcomed me at 39 with no dance experience at all.