Join us at our #Cheersto10Years Gala!

We are very excited to for our first ever Gala, taking place on Saturday, April 22nd, at the Rapids Theatre. We hope you can all join us for what is going to be a beautiful and momentous occasion. With 10 years under our belts (or our dance shoes) we have so much and so many reasons to celebrate, starting with all of our dancers past and present.

We are also celebrating the leap of faith that Miss Robin and Miss Christine took back in 2007, the leap of faith that changed and enhanced the lives of so many families around the Western New York region.

We are celebrating our thriving, successful, growing, and inclusive organization.

We are celebrating the fact that with faith, perseverance, hard work, and passion, an organization such as this builds up to 10 years and paves the way for many more ahead.

We are celebrating the joy that our dancers, families, and volunteers bring to the organization and spread to each other through dance. This is just a small list of what we are celebrating, and we can’t wait to all come together to reminisce about the past years at our Gala.

The Gala will be a night full of fun, including tons of basket raffles and silent auction items to bid on, as well as amazing food stations and an open bar. The Rapids Theatre itself is a beautiful establishment, and we can’t wait for you all to see it. Also, did we mention, there is a macaroni and cheese bar?! We don’t want to give away too much though, there have to be some surprises!

We couldn’t have a danceability gala, especially a 10-year danceability gala, without dancing! Thee performances will compile some of the best pieces from over the years, featuring many of the dancers who have been with danceability for all 10 years. Danceability actually has over 30 dancers who have been with the program for the entire 10 years!

We are so thankful for the support we’ve had over the past 10 years, and really cherish and honor all our dancers, families, and volunteers who have stepped through our doors and shared the time with us. We really want to celebrate and honor all those who have been a part of our organization and we hope to see you all there!

Tickets are $75 and are still available, but will not be available at the door. We are also still looking for silent auctions if anyone is willing to donate or help with donations.
Thank you for all you do to continue making danceability a thriving organization! Please join us for what is sure to be a spectacular night!

Cheers to 10 Years! Just look at the happy faces on some of our 10-year dancers below!

Student Spotlight: Amy Zelasko

Here's a picture of Amy (right) from our very first year of danceability back in 2007.

Here’s a picture of Amy (right) from our very first year of danceability back in 2007.

Meet Amy Zelasko (and her Mom, Sue). Amy is one of our ten year danceability dancers.  The Zelasko family have all been huge supporters of danceability, supporting us at various fundraisers, attending community events to speak on behalf of danceability and of course watching Amy and her fellow dancers shine onstage each year.

We asked Amy and Sue what their danceability experience has been like. Here’s what they had to say.

Amy: Thank you for dancing with us for the past ten years! What made you join danceability?
I knew Miss Robin from another program. She was my teacher there, and when she opened danceability I had to come along. Many of my friends were also joining danceability so I knew I wanted to be there. Plus, I love Miss Robin 🙂 

Amy: What’s your favorite part of class? Do you have a favorite dance move or type of dance?
My favorite part of class is whenever we learn new dance moves. It’s always great to try something new. My favorite dance move is the shimmy, but I also like hip-hop (even though it’s not Miss Robin’s favorite)!

Amy: Do you have a favorite routine you performed at the Annual Performances?11048680_10154234806407786_7664152516042868547_o
I love all my performance dances, but if I have to only pick one I would pick “Dance of the Hours”. We were sassy ballerina dancers. That year, my cousin Taylor was my volunteer!

Sue: What changes have you seen in Amy since joining the program? How has the program benefited her?
Amy has so much confidence in herself. She is not afraid or shy when it comes to dancing. Because of danceability, and everything she has learned in class, she has been part of the dance ensembles for the Middle School and High School musicals at Cheektowaga Central School – Willy Wonka, Guys & Dolls, Wizard of Oz, High School Musical, and this year Bye, Bye Birdie. 

Sue: Explain how you feel when you see Amy in class or performing on stage.
I tear up just thinking about how proud I am of her (and all the dancers). I think the entire audience looks forward to seeing the routine that her class will be doing. I may be bias, but I think her class always has the best routine!

Amy and her class before the 2014 Annual Performances

Amy and her class before the 2014 Annual Performances

Amy: What are you looking forward to in class this year?
I am looking forward to being part of the “Cheers to 10 Years” Gala in April and of course the Annual Performances. I can’t wait to learn our new routine for the show.

Sue: What would you tell other parents/families who are thinking about enrolling their child in the program at danceability?
I would tell other parents/families, don’t think, just get your child enrolled! Besides the child learning different dancers, they make friends forever. So do the parents. Our group of parents sit in the waiting room, we talk, we laugh, we cry. It is therapy for us. We share ideas of things that work or may not work if our child is having a problem with something.
 Amy: What would you tell other potential dancers about why they should join danceability?
Danceability is a fun place! You make friends, you learn new moves and the volunteers are great. 

Thank you to the Zelasko Family for being such a big part of our danceability family! We are lucky to have so many dancers who have been with us since the start.

And since the cat is out of the bag, we are adding an event in 2017 – our “Cheers to 10 Years” Gala on Saturday, April 22nd.

The event will feature very special performances from many of our ten year dancers. More information will be out in the next few weeks, but save the date!

Definitely don’t forge to put Saturday, May 13th on your calendar. That is the day of our 10th Annual Performances. Showtimes, location and ticket information will be out in March!

Student Spotlight: Nick Hallgren

Dancer Nick with his volunteer

Dancer Nick with his volunteer

Meet Nick Hallgren. Nick has loved to dance since he was a little kid, so when danceability opened its doors in 2007, it was natural that he joined the studio. Nick has remained a part of our danceability family for all TEN years and it’s been such a joy to watch Nick grow up before our eyes. We asked Nick and his mom, Janell, what their danceability experience has been like.

Here’s what they had to say:

Nick: What’s your favorite part of class and what do you enjoy most about coming to danceability?
I love walking into the studio and getting to greet and say hello to my friends. We catch up on our weekly activities, share jokes and high fives throughout class. I love when we do tap and some break dancing! I love making people laugh and dancing with my friends. It’s been a great experience.

Nick: What would you tell potential dancers about joining danceability?
I would tell them to come out and dance with us. It is fun and definitely give it a try.

Nick: Which performance piece has been your favorite?
Definitely Fireball!

Janell: What changes have you seen in Nick since joining danceability?

Nick and his classmates before the 2016 Annual Performances

Nick and his classmates before the 2016 Annual Performances

Nick has become more confident and willing to try new activities. Nick and his friends have grown up together and always look out for each other.

Janell: What is your favorite part about coming to danceability?

My favorite part is the feeling of community among the parents and families. We learn from each other and share information about programs and services for our kids. We discuss our children’s struggles and share in their successes. Besides danceability, our kids participate in Special Olympics and other sports together. Also, we share information about our other kids, struggles and successes in college and beyond! Since we’ve been together for so long, we truly love these groups of families.

Janell: What would you tell families about joining danceability?
I’d say not to be afraid and give it a try. I think some parents might fear that their child would be too disruptive or unable to participate, but the teachers are able to customize a program for kids with all types of challenges.

BOTH: It’s danceability’s 10th year – what do you wish for danceability in the next ten years? 
We hope it continues to grow and welcome new students and families.
Nick and his current classmates at danceability!

Nick and his current classmates at danceability!

BOTH: What is your favorite danceability memory to date?

Our favorite memories are at the Annual Performances each year. The kids love getting dressed up, having their pictures taken and dancing on stage. It’s such a special day for all the families.


We love hearing stories from our parents and dancers. Thank you to the Hallgren family for being so supportive of danceability over the past ten years. In addition to supporting our program, Janell is also serving on our “Cheers to 10 Years Gala” committee. We hope you will save the date – Saturday, April 22nd, 2017, and join us for a wonderful night of celebration. Many of our 10 year dancers will be reprising a routine they previously performed at one of our Annual Performances. It will be a night you don’t want to miss. Stay tuned for more details in the new year.

Thankful

Miss Robin & Miss Christine accepting a donation from Health Force, our largest donor!

Miss Robin & Miss Christine accepting a donation from Health Force, our largest donor!

We’ve been doing a lot of reflecting this year as we celebrate our 10th year. It’s amazing to look back on where we started and see how far we have come. The danceability story is a great example of how much of a difference you can make in a community if you keep working hard at your passion. Miss Robin & Miss Christine had a dream and a goal, and they have worked hard to ensure that their dream continues to “dance out” for many more years to come.

Along the way, we have had so much support from our community, who we consider a part of our danceability family. We are thankful for you each day, but seeing as how Thanksgiving is tomorrow, we wanted to take some time to thank many individuals, foundations, companies and volunteers for helping danceability along the way.

When we say thank you, we have to start by thanking Health Force. Their amazing financial support has helped ensure our first ten years were a success.

We have been lucky to receive grant funding from The Children’s Guild, The Kelly for Kids Foundation, Ingram Micro, Tegna, Give for Greatness, The Community Foundation and more!

Many companies and organizations have supported us by hosting fundraisers and dress down days including the Daemen College Student Physical Therapy Association, the Women Lawyer’s of Western New York, Hodgson Russ LLP, J’s White Elephant, Mangia Restaurant, Freed Maxick CPA’s, Fred Astaire Buffalo, Embrace the Difference, and many more!

We’ve received so much support through the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County donor designation program and SEFA campaigns. In the past few years, we’ve also utilized Crowdrise and received many donations through their site.

Daemen College donated over $4,000 earlier this year!

Daemen College donated over $4,000 earlier this year!

When we have hosted fundraisers, we have been fortunate to receive sponsorship support from various companies including ECC, Insty Prints, Employee Resources, Rembrandt Charms, Program Savvy and many more. We’ve sold out fundraisers and have welcomed so many guests to our events who have all supported our program. So many have stepped up to the plate and donated through our Annual Appeal and made recurring donations throughout the year.

Every dollar raised we take seriously – and make sure we are putting donor dollars to use to make sure our dancers are receiving the best programming available.

In addition to so many donating to danceability, we have had hundreds donate their time through volunteering. We are fortunate to have over 90 current volunteers working with our dancers in the classroom. We say it every chance we get, but our volunteers are the backbone of danceability. We can’t be who we are without their countless hours of support. We’d like to especially mention two volunteers – KasieLynn Schultz and Christine DeCaro, who have been with us for all ten years. In addition to our classroom volunteers, we’d like to thank our Board of Directors both current and previous who have given their time and talents to guiding danceability on a path of growth. There are many others who volunteer, whether it be helping at our fundraisers, sewing costumes for our performances or helping out in the office, and each of you have made a lasting impact on our organization.

picture1At one point Miss Robin & Miss Christine taught all the classes. As we have continued to grow, we have been fortunate to hire the best teachers to help out. This year, fittingly, we have ten teachers who all bring so much positivity to their classes. We are so thankful for you! We’ve hired office staff along the way and we can’t do it without Beth Gianturco and our newest hire, Miss Beth Hess who help make sure our office runs smooth!

Last and certainly not least, we thank our dancers and their families. What can we say? You guys are the best! We do this for you and we can’t thank you enough for your energy, your smiles and your passion for danceability.

There are hundreds of names we could list individually. So many faces that walk in and out of our studio each year who have made a difference for a dancer. We are so thankful. So very thankful for your support today and every other day!

We wish everyone in our danceability family a very special and happy Thanksgiving. We will be thinking about you around our table this year and we look forward to continuing to serve our dancers for another decade (and beyond!)


Help us say “Cheers to 10 Years” this holiday season with a donation to our Annual Appeal campaign.
Learn more, here.

Student Spotlight: Sabrina Schuster

Many of our dancers have been with us for a while. Over 30 have been with us for all ten years! Today, we are featuring dancer Sabrina Schuster, who is one of those ten year dancers. We asked Sabrina and her Mom, Patrice some questions about their experience with danceability so far.
Here’s what they had to say!
Sabrina striking a great pose in the orange!

Sabrina striking a great pose in the orange!

Sabrina: Why did you join danceability? What’s your favorite part of class?
I joined danceability because I love listening to music and dancing.  My friend Jamie and I danced with Mrs. Christine before and followed her when she opened danceability in 2007.  She is a great teacher. My favorite part of class is dancing with my team and volunteer.  I like tap because I like the tap shoes and I also like going barefoot when we dance freestyle. I love coming to danceability because it is fun and I like learning the dance we perform in May. I love being onstage!!

Sabrina: Which Annual Performance routine has been your favorite?
I cannot choose! Each one has been my favorite. I loved wearing all the different costumes and dancing to new steps with each song.

Sabrina: What would you tell potential dancers about joining danceability?

I would tell potential dancers to join danceability because it is a great time being with your friends where you can listen and dance to music each week. Plus, you can watch yourself practice in the big mirror!

Patrice: What changes have you seen in Sabrina since joining danceability?
Sabrina has definitely improved her coordination over the years due to dancing.  She has amazed us on her ability to remember the dance steps when performing at the May Annual Performance.  She loves coming and telling everyone she is a dancer.

Patrice: What has been your favorite part of being a part of the danceability family?
I enjoy bringing Sabrina to danceability to sit and relax with the other moms whose daughters are also in the class.  We have become good friends and share any latest news that would benefit us and our children whether it be medical related or disability services related.

Patrice: What would you tell parents/guardians who are thinking about enrolliong their son/daughter at danceability?
We would tell any parents who are thinking about enrolling their child in danceability to do it.  Dance is an integral outlet for our children to express themselves in a way that is liberating of any constraints while enjoying listening to music.  Your child will make new friends in their classmates and volunteers.

BOTH: It is danceability’s 10th year – what do you wish for danceability in the next ten years?
We hope over the next ten years that danceability will continue to be bigger and better.  Every year that has passed since danceability’s inception, we have seen the program sign new dancers and get new volunteers to help our children.  The recital in May is looking more polished every year.  I hope more opportunities will be available for the dancers in the future to showcase their talent outside the studio to promote danceability and themselves

BOTH: What is your favorite danceability memory to date?
There have been so many wonderful memories within my family as well as extended family members.  I would say the one memory that meant a lot to Sabrina as well as my husband and I, was at one recital when Sabrina had a misstep with the routine.  Sabrina felt terrible. Mrs. Christine allowed Sabrina to go back on stage and master the step.  Sabrina felt so terrific,  as did we.  That action by Mrs. Christine said right there that the entire reason for having a dance studio for children and adults with disabilities is to showcase their “ABILITIES.”

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We are so lucky to have Sabrina and her family as a part of our danceability family! Being a strong family atmosphere is exactly what Miss Robin & Miss Christine had in mind when they started danceability back in 2007, and it’s great to see our family continue to grow and become stronger each year. We can’t wait to see what moves Sabrina will bring to the stage in May. One thing is for sure, she will have that big beautiful smile on her face (and so will we)!

10 Big danceability Moments

We are back with another “Top 10” list.

This month we travel through the past ten years to highlight some of the biggest (and most important) moments in danceability history.


Miss Robin & Miss Christine receiving the 2015 Rising Star SPARK Award

Miss Robin & Miss Christine receiving the 2015 Rising Star SPARK Award

10 BIG danceability Moments

1.The list HAS to start with September 2007, when our students walked through the doors for the first time, in a smaller studio just a little ways down the plaza from where we currently are. 60 dancers registered that first year, and we are thrilled to say we have more than doubled in ten years and reached hundreds of dancers!

2. Danceability was able to support a full-time Executive Director at the beginning of year four! Miss Robin currently remains the only full-time staff member, but we have been fortunate to hire two additional part-time staff members (with plans to add more in the future!).

3. We danced on over to our new studios in September 2011. The new studio spaces allow for us to serve more dancers and have a bigger waiting room for our families and more office space (though we will probably outgrow our current space soon!).

4. We were so fortunate to receive a grant from the Children’s Guild Foundation to support our Sensory Studio in 2011. The Sensory Studio was designed with those dancers in mind who have sensory needs. The grant allowed us to create the space and purchase equipment targeted at those with sensory needs. It has been such a great addition to our organization.

The Sensory Studio opened in 2011

The Sensory Studio opened in 2011

5. We added in fitness classes along the way in addition to our regular dance programming and our summer classes. The fitness classes are currently just offered in the summer, but have been a great way for some of our current dancers, and others in the community to get in a great workout!

6. In November 2014, danceability received some national press! We were featured in the magazine Dance Studio Life. Check it out HERE.

7. In May 2015, danceability was honored to receive the Rising Star SPARK Award from the Arts Service Initiative of Western New York! It was such a wonderful surprise for our small organization.

8. In early 2016, Miss Robin & Miss Christine were selected as “Making a Difference” by WNED and WBFO. They were featured on a half hour special and interviewed on the radio.

9. Over the past three dance seasons, 2016 included, we are proud to boast reaching 90+ volunteers each year who work with our dancers. We wouldn’t be able to run the organization without our volunteers, they are truly the most kindhearted people in town!

Fitness classes have been a great addition to our programming!

Fitness classes have been a great addition to our programming!

10. As we started our 10th year, we were able to hire our 10th teacher. 10 teachers is a long way from Miss Robin & Miss Christine handling all the classes back in 2007. What a wonderful testament to their hard work that danceability has been able to grow so much.


We could list so many more “little” moments whether they are just those moments where a dancer masters a step, where they make new friends, or where they absolutely shine on the stage each May during our Annual Performances. We are thankful for the little and big moments that have happened over the past ten years and we look forward to making new memories over the next ten. To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we have a limited edition line of apparel and merchandise for sale. Orders are due by 10/28 and you can find all the clothing items and order forms in studio.

Cheers to 10 years! We can’t wait to see what big moment will be next!

 

Student Spotlight: Meghan Collins

We have been fortunate to have many dancers (over 30!) who have been with danceability since we started back in 2007. We will be featuring some of our “veteran” dancers on our blog throughout the rest of the year.

This month, we are excited to kick off our dancer features by spotlighting Meghan Collins. Learn more about Meghan’s dance experiences and the positive impact our program has had on her from her mom, Beth.


Beth with her daughter, dancer Meghan!

Beth with her daughter, dancer Meghan!

Why did you join danceability and what is your favorite part of class?
Meghan: I joined danceability because it’s fun and I love to dance!! My favorite part of class is the music, learning new dances, dancing with Mrs. Christine and Bailey my volunteer dance partner! My favorite type of dance is hip hop and my favorite dance move is the kick line! I also liked when Mrs. Christine taught us “the nay nay dance!”


What changes have you seen in Meghan since she joined danceability?

Beth: Meghan is more social, expressive, and self confident since joining danceability! Danceability is like another home for her where she can just be her unique self and to be able to express herself! It’s been fun to not only watch her grow, but also her friends, and all the students!!


Over the past ten years – what has been your favorite dance recital routine? We love seeing you perform!
Meghan: My favorite dance recital routine was “Hit me with your best Shot!” I’m looking forward to learning new dances this year in class. I also want to do some more kickboxing, that was a lot of fun. 


What has it felt like to walk through the danceability studio doors each week, and see Meghan perform onstage each May?

Beth: When I see Meghan in class, I feel happy that she gets to have fun with her friends, Mrs. Christine, and all the volunteers in her class. I love to watch her interactions with everyone and I love to watch her learn new moves and routines! At the recital, I start crying tears of joy as soon as she gets on stage. It’s exciting to see it all come together and also to see the excitement and determination on her face!


What would you tell parents/guardians who are considering enrolling their child at danceability?

Mrs. Christine & Meghan after one danceability performance!

Mrs. Christine & Meghan after one danceability performance!

Beth: I would tell people who are either enrolling or thinking about enrolling their child or adult in danceability that it will be one of the best decisions they will ever make! The pure joy and sense of accomplishment their child or adult will feel is priceless!!

Meghan: I would tell other people to join danceability because it’s fun and you learn new dances and you make good friends! I would also tell them that the teachers and volunteers are really awesome!! I am really lucky to have great people to dance with.

 

Do you have any great danceability moments or stories you want to share?
Beth: When Meghan had just turned 17, she suddenly became ill. None of the doctors could figure it out despite frequent trips to the ER and doctors office. Meghan didn’t want to eat, which she usually loves to do, and lost 35 lbs in two months and slept all the time. A few weeks before they figured out was wrong, Meghan danced her heart out through TWO danceability recitals!

When the diagnosis of a severe form of lupus with a current raging esophageal infection, I thought back to the recital and thought “how did she do it?” The doctors said her whole body was inflamed with the lupus and infection, yet she went out and danced and never complained. I was reminded of what a brave, determined daughter I have, and how much danceability means to her!! Through all those months, our danceability family was with us, whether it was a phone call or a hospital visit, a kind word and lots of encouragement!!

One of Meghan's many dance photos!

One of Meghan’s many dance photos!

We joined danceability because Robin Bishop and I worked together at Hospice at the time. Robin suggested I enroll Meghan in the new dance program she and Christine were starting. Meghan had danced in a similar program before so I thought, sure – we’d give it a try. That first year it was just her and Mrs. Robin and she loved every minute! Now, TEN years later, she is still having a blast dancing with her friends and I love sitting and talking with “the dance moms,” -an amazing group of women!!

We feel very blessed to be part of the danceability family! Meghan gets to truly express herself and do something she loves! She’s grown so much through the past ten years and we’ve made true, lifelong friends!! Thank you danceability!


We have been fortunate to be a part of Meghan and Beth’s family for ten years and we look forward to seeing what’s next for Meghan.

Stay tuned for another student spotlight in November!