So You Think You Can’t Dance?

Jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop classes helping kids get up and move

Provided by: Cerebral Palsy Alliance

If you think you can’t learn about jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop because you’ve got a frame or a wheelchair, then think again. The X Factor Kidz Dance Group, run by three teachers at the Glenda Benton Dance Academy at Chipping Norton, is helping kids with mobility difficulties to get up and move.

The dance group is a great form of exercise for children with disabilities, according to dance teacher Lee Casuscelli. Lee teaches the weekly classes with Dance Academy principal Glenda Benton and her husband Mitch Owers.

“The X Factor Kidz has been a dream come true for all of us. We believe that the joy of dancing should be accessible to every individual regardless of age or ability,” Lee said.

Lee has worked in the area of disabilities for 23 years. She said the dance school saw a need, and then found a way to meet it. X Factor Kidz now has weekly junior and senior movement lessons as well as a class specifically for wheelchair and frame users. Volunteers, some of whom travel long distances each week, come to the classes to help the dancers when needed.
“All classes begin with a general warm-up. The non-ambulantclasses focus on upper body strength and mobility to improve flexibility and joint movement. We then have lots of fun with individual, partner and group movement followed by dance combinations and a cool down,” Lee said.
“Many of the classes include impromptu performances by the students and we happily encourage everyone to express themselves and showcase their strengths and abilities.”
Dance encourages large muscle movement and promotes greater joint mobility. It also improves muscle tone, spatial awareness and co-ordination. It can be tailored to meet individual needs and it suits both boys and girls.

Lee says dancing is not only a great form of exercise for children with disabilities, but it also has many social benefits.

“Emotionally, dance stimulates the ‘feel good’ endorphins through the incorporation of music and self expression,” she said. “It is a way to mix socially with other people in a fun filled relaxed environment. We also include “buddies” which gives all participants the chance to meet new and interesting people from all walks of life.”

If you’re wondering if X Factor Kidz would be a good idea for your child, Lee says you won’t regret giving it a try.

“We warmly welcome and encourage everyone to give dance a go. It is a great hobby and opens up many opportunities for children to meet new friends, enjoy music, express themselves and exercise in a safe, accepting environment.”

Find Support

Looking for other great exercise options for your child?

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to other parents and caregivers to see what their children enjoyed.