Dance For All
Ages 9 through 99+
1:00 – 2:00pm every Saturday
YMCA at 2400 Grant Road, Mountain View
Get in touch with your body and learn the intrinsic joy of movement! This dance and movement class utilizes a variety of different dance styles and is great for kids and adults alike. The class is also appropriate for people of all levels of dance experience, with an emphasis on those with special needs.
Instructors: Teresa Maldonado Marchok, physical therapist, pilates instructor, and former dancer for the Martha Graham Dance Company; and Mercy Forde, a fitness and cardio dance instructor for over 25 years.
Both have worked together teaching an adaptive dance class at Mountain View High School, and as choreographers for Youth Drama For All, an inclusive local theater group. They are passionate about fitness, movement, and working out with people of all abilities!
PRESS RELEASE YMCA
February 10, 2015
Ursula Hultqvist – (650) 429-1311 or firstname.lastname@example.org
El Camino YMCA’s Inclusive “Dance for All” Class Engages Families with Special Needs
Class designed to help youth and adults with special needs to stay active and build community
Mountain View, Calif. – As part of its comprehensive mission to meet the diverse health and wellness needs in the community, El Camino YMCA is proud to be offering a new dance and exercise class for youth and young adults with special needs.
The Y’s “Dance for All” class originated from a discussion that Teresa Maldonado Marchok and Mercy Forde – Y members who have children with special needs – had with El Camino YMCA staff about the need to help children with special needs to stay active, healthy and socially connected. The Y embraced the idea of creating a fun, targeted movement class that our special needs community could more fully participate in and they began working with Teresa and Mercy to develop the curriculum.
“The Y is already ahead of other organizations in terms of inclusion and we were thrilled that the Y worked with us to go even further to create a class environment that is safe, accepting and, above all, fun,” says Teresa Maldonado Marchok, who is also a licensed Physical Therapist. “We also wanted to include peers, siblings and parents in a way that allows them to focus on themselves and have a good workout as well. This class serves to accept differences without judgment.”
Since launching in July, the Dance for All class has been a huge success. Every Saturday at 1 pm, an average of 15 individuals – including special needs participants, their family members and regular Y members – participate in an interactive hour-long program.
Teresa and Mercy lead the group in a series of dances – choreographed to popular music enjoyed by youth – as well as Pilates-based exercises that expose them to moves they would find in other Y classes. Most importantly, unexpected movements and utterances are accepted without judgment, and Teresa and Mercy employ techniques to engage withdrawn or oppositional students so everyone feels included.
“Autistic or other special needs children do not have many opportunities to exercise, especially when they are older,” said Qiang Li, who attends the class with his nine-year-old autistic son, Darin. “This kind of all-inclusive program like Dance for All will benefit them physically as well as emotionally. This class has been great for my son, and I am very grateful for YMCA for offering this class.”
The Dance for All class is one way that the YMCA builds stronger communities through providing experiences to people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. The Y is proud to offer financial assistance to help families and individuals who may not otherwise be able to afford a membership.
“At the Y, we are committed to serving our entire community and helping all residents lead fuller and healthier lives,” said Jenny-Rebecca Saccardo, Associate Executive Director of El Camino YMCA. “Families who have children with special needs face numerous barriers to healthy living and we are extremely proud to be working with dedicated volunteers and staff, like Teresa and Mercy, to provide additional opportunities and support for these members of our community.”