Shall We Dance?

. September 30, 2018.
Participants enjoy the open studio Adaptive Dance Program at Ballet Chelsea.
Participants enjoy the open studio Adaptive Dance Program at Ballet Chelsea.

Moving to the music is often a challenge for children and adults with special needs. But now, thanks to a creative approach at Ballet Chelsea, these individuals can have fun expressing themselves through dance in a safe and comfortable setting.

Looking forward to Fridays

Ella (surname withheld at parent’s request) fifteen-years-old, participated in the Adaptive Dance Program last school year and, according to her parents, the experience was a positive one. “Ella looked forward to this class every week,” her father, Jeff said. “She was a happy girl knowing dance class was on Friday.” Ella, who has Down syndrome, participated in a program that was tailored to her abilities with trained instructors.

Tailored to ability

“Her instructor, Kayleigh Crummey, was fantastic,” Jeff said. “She catered the class to Ella’s ability and music taste. She even allowed Ella’s younger siblings to join her to make the environment more fun and comfortable for Ella.”

Jane Thompson, Ballet Chelsea administrator explains, “Ballet Chelsea’s unique Adaptive Dance Program (ADP) provides specifically choreographed exercise programs for members of the community who have special needs, with physical, mental and cognitive limitations.”

Customized classes

The program, which began in 2015, offers twenty five classes at Washtenaw County locations, including residential centers, senior communities and classrooms with participants range in age from 3 to 93.

Varied options

“This population has far fewer exercise options than other people, and the Adaptive Dance Program was initially developed for them, to provide fun exercise classes leading to a healthier lifestyle,” says Thompson. “Each ADP class is tailor-made to fit the needs and abilities of the participants and aims to improve coordination and balance, flexibility and self-confidence.”

Classes are led by experienced teachers, trained to work with people with disabilities. In addition to their scheduled programs around Washtenaw County, Ballet Chelsea offers three open ADP classes for ages four to adult on Fridays in their dance studio. Thanks to funding from several area agencies and initiatives, including Five Healthy Towns Foundation, there are no class fees for participants. The open studio location does require a $25 yearly family registration fee.

For more information on the Adaptive Dance Program visit, call 734-475-3070, or send inquiries to

The following open studio ADP classes are held on Fridays at Ballet Chelsea’s studio location at 1050 S. Main St.,Chelsea:

4-6 year olds: 3:15-4pm
7-13 year olds: 5:15-6pm
14 yrs-adult: 6-6:45pm